Youth Literature

Youth literature and North-South trade links

In this remarkable document, Marion Van Staeyen highlights the persistent imbalance in the book trade between France and francophone Africa, between North and South, in particular with regard to children’s books. Some alternatives are appearing, however, in particular to promote access to northern markets for African publishers. Many stakeholders in the sector – among them the International Alliance of Independent Publishers – are calling for a redress of the trade imbalance between North and South and are in fact actively taking part in endeavours to achieve this. A graduate in sociology and editing, Marion Van Staeyen is a second-year MA student at Paris XIII University, majoring in the book trade. She is currently attending classes at Sherbrooke University in Quebec, thanks to a partnership between the two universities. A very highly regarded young book professional, Marion Van Staeyen is also a big theatre enthusiast.

Documents in French.

Publishing in India

Pays de parution : Inde

On the contrary of other Asian publishing market, like Korea or Japan, the Indian book market is nearly unknown by French children’s book publishers, thought this industry is actually blooming.
The Indian book market is a very specific one : the country’s size makes book distribution difficult, many languages are spoken and written, and there is a wide gap between urban reading habits and rural ones. Independent publishers in this country adapt business strategies to these difficulties and the solution they find are really original. As the lack of studies and data about Indian publishing is quite strong, this study is based on a certain number of interviews with booksellers, book fair directors, market specialist, illustrators, distributors and publishers.

  • In its first part ’’Quel paysage pour l’édition indienne ?’’, this study ambitions to review statistical data in order to get an idea of the Indian youth lectorship (gender, languages, economical issues among others).
  • In its second part ’’Le monde de l’édition jeunesse’’, a typology of the Indian publishing world is sketched out in order to underline the roles of the different players in the field : multinational companies, state publishing, commercial publishing, independent publishers, NGO.
  • In its third part ’’Quelles perspectives de diffusion et de valorisation ?’’, the study tries to visualize the level and the nature of exchanges between Indian publishing and worldwide publishing actors.

An exciting memory on a subject unexplored... to read now !

Mariette ROBBES, holder of a Master 2 in the World of the Book (Aix-en-Provence University) lived for six months in India in 2009, and returns often ever since. She is currently based in Munich, as a beneficiary of an International Youth Library bursary, allowing her to pursue her research on the history of youth publishing in India. Mariette concurrently works on several textile and graphic creation projects.

African Youth Literature : What visibility on the international market ?

Pays de parution : Italie

Since 2009, the Alliance has developed, on request of publishers members, a modest diffusion and distribution activity in France of youth literature published in Africa (« Lectures d’Afrique(s) ») . This fund addresses a double issue : make accessible and visible literary production published in Africa in the Northern market and more modestly, participate to a balancing of trade flux between South and North.

The youth sector, in expansion in many regions in the world, is strategic in countries where publishing is emergent – it is indeed through youth literature that tomorrow’s readerships are formed. While catering for their local readership, publishers in Africa also wish to be known internationally. Their participation at book fairs in the North, for instance the Youth Book and Press Fair in Seine-Saint-Denis, reveals the presence of a readership on the Northern markets.

Although African literary output is sold to the general public in the North, is it bought in the context of fairs were publishing rights are sold ? What are the necessary prerequisites to participate in these professional fairs ? Would African literature find buyers ?

In partnership with Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the Alliance convenes eight African publishers in Bologna from the 23rd to the 27th of March 2013.

Through experience sharing and the intervention of a literary agent specialised in rights transfer (mainly at the service of small youth publishing houses), publishers will also work on the following items :
• Identify relevant catalogues for copyrights transfer ;
• Develop marketing tools to better present one’s production ;
• Negotiate rights and follow-up with business contacts…

Publishers will also reflect on publishing standards in the design and production of books, standards that could facilitate access to international markets while posing a production standardisation risk. How can we reconcile publishing on two levels simultaneously, addressing a local readership and also an international one ?

A session of the workshop will focus on the development of an advocacy document proposing a series of recommendations, aimed at book fairs to support the attendance of publishers from the South.

Finally, this meeting will be the occasion for a projects fair, a “mini Bologna” that could lead to translation proposals, rights transfers and co publishing projects. Some of these projects could thereafter be supported by the Alliance.

As an extension to this workshop, meetings with publishers and structures supporting youth publishing were organised during the Fair, providing an opportunity to practically exemplify the reflection processes carried out over the two previous days, to better discover and understand the workings and mechanisms of a Fair such as Bologna’s. We hope that this support will enable publishers to renew and assure their participation in the long term… and ultimately, that African youth literature will be more visible on international markets.

The Alliance warmly acknowledges the support of Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Fondation de France, Centre national du livre and the Institut français of Madagascar, essential to the implementation of this workshop.