How Many of you Are There?

About a week ago, we returned from the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest and most active book fair in the world.  When we refer to the "activity" of a book fair, it's in part referencing the traffic on the show floor, the number of people attending, the number of conversations had, etc.  But for a fair like Frankfurt, one of the biggest gauges for activity is the  number of rights transactions taking place.  A rights transaction refers to the signing of a contract from a rights holder (or representative of the rights holder) to a buyer who is purchasing the right to translate, publish and distribute the work in question in the buyer's home market.  These are the types of transactions that we hope to facilitate here on PubMatch as well. Because of the rise and popularity of ebooks, and ebook (and general) retailers like Amazon that make ebooks (and in many cases, physical books) available anywhere in the world, a lot of questions have risen as to the need of subrights. In other words, people will say, "my book can be bought by anybody in the world, so why would I need to sell the rights to someone else to publish it?"  This is a valid question, one that nine times out of ten can be answered with a different question:  "how many of you are there?" When one refers to their book being available for sale anywhere in the world, they are referencing the sales rights for a book.  These rights describe who has the right to sell a book in a given market.  A publisher from the US might have the right to sell their version of the book anywhere in the world.  Likewise, when an author becomes self published via CreateSpace, making their book available to the entire world via Amazon, they are able to do so because they have the right to sell the book in any market.  Current versions of ONIX include these rights because they are exceedingly important, because the size of your market is exceedingly important.  When you own all of the rights to your book, you're absolutely welcome to create a foreign language version and make it for sale on Amazon or anywhere else.  But if you're an author from the U.S and you've translated your book into Spanish, who is in Spain trying to sell it?  How many of you are there? This is where subrights come in.  You COULD translate your book into Spanish yourself (or pay someone else to do it), put it on Amazon and see what happens.  Or, you could find a publisher in Spain who--if they like your book enough--will pay you for the right to translate the book, pay to make copies of the book, market it in Spain and have copies on hand for sale to the general public in Spain, while you collect royalties on copies sold.  How many of you are there now? There's no question that ebooks and sales rights and online retailers are all revolutionizing the industry, but to make the most out of every possible iteration of a book, there's nothing more revolutionary than subrights.