E-rights boom internationally

E-rights boom internationally

Electronic rights are rapidly becoming an integral part of publisher/author contracts around the world.

The conclusion is according to the second international study carried out by Bureau International de l'Edition Française (BIEF), the organisation that promotes French publishers abroad.The survey was conducted with co-operation from 50 publishers in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US.

The BIEF's first study, in 2011, showed that e-rights were starting to be included in print contracts. The latest data confirms that trend, and shows that new elements have emerged, said Karen Politis, BIEF's business intelligence manager. In the 2011 study, contracts almost exclusively covered text e-books, with enriched and multimedia version rights the exception. Two-thirds of publishers now said they include these in their contracts. About half of the study's respondents said that they plan to launch a digital-only list.

Although still in the minority, more authors and houses selling rights are asking for an advance on e-book sales—with an unknown level of success—while 46% of publishers practice dynamic pricing, whereby prices are decided by demand or other market factors.

The study also found only three publishers out of the 50 questioned do not digitise new titles; that 50% produce enriched content that can represent up to 25% of their catalogues; and that half have started developing apps.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is the most popular method for combating piracy, but over half of the respondents said they were thinking about no longer encrypting their files following the arrival of proprietary formats.

Most publishers send accounts to authors annually or biannually; around half send separate accounts for print and electronic sales; and a large majority said they had no intention of establishing a real-time sales information system. The full report will be published within the month.