Building Your Global Publishing Business: Keith Yatsuhashi of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Global Publishing Team on how publishers can successfully tap international revenue streams in book sales, translation and rights.
One of the things that makes [international book sales] so attractive is that the content is unique. ... Unlike other industries, like computers, software or automotive, you're not going to find a competitor who has that same specific content anywhere else and you're not facing a direct competitor from China. If you can find a niche, then you are in a much better position to realize international sales.
Extra: What advantages do publishers gain from working with the Global Publishing Team?
Yatsuhashi: I like to tell companies that [we're] your overseas advocate. That's really our mission: to help U.S. businesses. The core of our mission is to assist in matchmaking and increasing company sales. … For larger companies, and even smaller companies that are well-equipped to go international … there are always unforeseen circumstances: The shipment gets stuck in customs, there's a problem with payment. With anything like that, a company should really consider us and realize that they have a friend in the embassy or the consulate [who] they can go [to] if something happens.
Extra: What is the initial process you go through with publishers?
Yatsuhashi: I think publishers come to exporting in two ways: Either it's a real targeted approach where they say, "We think this content will do really well in these countries." The other way, which I think happens more with the smaller publishers, is more reactionary. They'll come to us and say, "I've been approached by publishers in this country and this market, and I don't know the best way to go about this." So it always starts for us with what the publisher's capacity is, what their goals are, and whether they're seeking to fulfill an order here or there, or they're really looking to have a presence in a country where it would make sense to partner with a local publisher. We also get a sense of what the commitment is from their higher management, if exporting is a priority for them.