As one of the largest and most prominent book and author events in the North American publishing industry, BookExpo America remains a great place to discover new titles, generate rights and licensing business, network and learn about the latest trends.

Technology is also an area which continues to be a focal point at BEA. Last year saw the launch of the Startup Challenge and this year we will see an inaugural Startup Alley which is aimed at bringing together the best of Silicon Alley and the book publishing industry.

Innovation is something publishing has never been short of, but it’s always good to see it in the spotlight. Inevitably technology and innovation tend to work hand-in-hand within the modern publishing ecosystem. And it’s clear that rights and licensing are working their way closer and closer to the top of this ecosystem for growing numbers of forward-thinking publishing solutions and entrepreneurial author’s agendas.

BEA continues to attract a truly international audience. As ever, the International Rights Center is sure to be a hive of activity and with China being the Guest of Honour at this year’s event it will be interesting to chart its impact, especially in terms of generating international licensing business.

From our experience, more and more Chinese publishers are looking for new routes to have their works translated into different languages overseas. They are aware of the challenges in building up this part of their business, but also of the untapped potential that exists. Working with various Chinese publishers in recent times has certainly helped me overcome my initial perception that the vast majority of Chinese books would be too focused on local markets or culture. However, whether in adult fiction, children’s, biography, travel, education, science or health, there are large numbers of available titles with real international appeal.

China remains not only a fascinating country but also a captivating marketplace. And greater understanding of the culture and the intricacies of Chinese publishing will certainly help more publishers to break into such an important component in the global rights and licensing puzzle. Thankfully events such a BEA continue to be the perfect platform to explore how we can translate opportunity into real business from a raft of overseas partners.

Tom Chalmers is the managing director of IPR License.