The second annual New York Rights Fair, the international adult and children’s content and licensing marketplace, is colocated and running concurrently with BookExpo this year, and is presented in partnership with BolognaFiere, Publishers Weekly, and Combined Book Exhibit. It was held offsite in 2018.
“It is super exciting to have the New York Rights Fair under the same roof as BookExpo,” says Jennifer Martin, event manager of BookExpo. “Admittedly, we have seen the international attendees fade at BookExpo over the past few years, in part because it wasn’t as compelling to travel for just a two-day event. Now that it has been right-sized to a three-day show and with the addition of the New York Rights Fair, we anticipate a much larger international participation.” This year’s New York Rights Fair, she adds, features representatives from 14 countries, including a large number of exhibitors from France and Italy, as well as representatives from as far away as Uzbekistan.
More than 30 rights tables will be occupied by literary and rights agencies, including Trident Media Group, Sandra Dijkstra, and Maria Campbell & Associates. The Quarto Group, Quirk Books, Candlewick, Sourcebooks, and Simon & Schuster are among the publishers exhibiting.
As to whether the New York Rights Fair will be competing with exhibitors on the BookExpo show floor, Martin notes that BookExpo booths are primarily focused on servicing retail and library clients. “All too often in the past,” she says, “the rights portion of the show got edged off to the side. Now editors have a compelling reason to leave their offices and come to BookExpo, because they will have their own dedicated space for doing business.” She also points to the Rights Fair’s active schedule of panels and educational sessions, structured around the international landscape, page to screen, and genres.
Literary agent Marleen Seegers, owner of the 2 Seas Agency in Ojai, Calif., and a panelist at today’s “International Blockbusters” session, is back for a second year. Although Seegers travels to both the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs each year to sell rights, she says that she welcomes a rights-focused event in the U.S. “Breaking into the U.S. market is something most international publishers aspire to. It is absolutely essential that there is an opportunity for them to meet with agents and editors in New York,” she says, adding, “It also must be said that many of the U.S. publishers who publish translated fiction are not based in [New York]. Publishers like Graywolf, Open Letter, and Deep Vellum are all somewhere else, but many of them will be at the New York Rights Fair and exhibiting at BookExpo.”
BookExpo’s Martin points out that the New York Rights Fair is designed to give people an opportunity to interact face-to-face. “The goal for me is to turn it into the [Consumer Electronics Show] of books. We want to hear about great deals that come out of the fair, from new television series to independent films. We want everyone to know that the New York Rights Fair and BookExpo are a hotbed of great stories.”