Monday, January 28, 2013

The World Is A Big Fat Melting Pot

There are some North American readers, and authors, who might be surprised that two of the most forward-thinking and progressive book fairs are the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and the Frankfurt Book Fair. These events have been preaching the digital phase long before Kindle or iPad.

But there is another story here. Abu Dhabi is in the United Arab Emirates and Frankfurt is in Germany. Many North American book publishers are getting their titles printed in China and India.

Publishing is a global industry, but how many books are translated to reflect that?

A while back, a fellow from Portugal approached me about his multi-book series that focused on the published and unpublished material of a renowned writer from that country, which was only available in his native language. He was to translate these stories into English for the North American market, where this famous writer had a bit of a following.

Years ago, a fellow sports media friend told me that although Canada is a bilingual country, many books were not available in French.

Granted, it is expensive to translate. Besides hiring a translator with strong literary skills, it requires a new layout because translated words don't fit the same page flow as the English words.

Think of the books North Americans are missing out on because they haven't been translated into our language.

It begs consideration when one is assessing who their audience is and whether to consider a different language. Your book in Spanish or Russian might even outsell an English book.

Food for thought.

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