About the opportunity

Six publishing professionals from Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia (two from each) will be paired with counterparts from the UK. They will have the opportunity to visit their opposite number on a curated study visit, to gain sector insight and forge professional connections from September 2019 – September 2020.

Key Activities

  • Online meets (Nov-Jan 2019).
  • Fellows from Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine visit the UK for a study trip (Feb 2020).
  • British Fellows study trips (June-July 2020):

2 x Fellows visit Georgia

2 x Fellows visit Turkey

2 x Fellows visit Ukraine

  • Development Fund activities commence (Oct 2020 – Mar 2021).

Development Fund

At the end of the Fellowship, Fellows will be invited to bid for a development fund of up to £3k each. This fund will enable them to continue forging international professional links. Fellows could spend the fund:

  • visiting trade fairs
  • shadowing opportunities
  • professional training
  • seed-funding international projects, etc.

Development Fund Applications will be assessed on the following:

  • prior commitment to the Fellowship activities
  • likely impact of the activities on developing the Fellow’s career and international connections
  • value for money.

Quote from Director Literature:

“The British Council are thrilled to be launching an International Publishing Fellowship, to support professional development and promote global connections throughout the industry. We have seen collaborations across the international publishing community foster new approaches and push boundaries. We look forward to seeing the ideas and innovations that emerge from this new Fellowship programme.”

Participants

The Fellows, who were selected via open-call application, all demonstrate a commitment to innovation and internationalism in publishing. They work across a range of genres including literary fiction, childrens and YA, non-fiction and art and design, in roles including editorial, foreign rights, marketing, design and production, for large conglomerate publishers and boutique independent presses.

The UK fellows are Alesha Bonser (Penguin Random House), Arthur Thompson (Kogan Page), Emma Warnock (No Alibi), Molly Sight (Scribe), Ansa Khan Kattak (Picador), Becca Parkinson (Comma Press).

The Ukrainian fellows are Mykola Kovalchuk (ArtHuss) and Kateryna Nosko (IST).

The fellows from Turkey are Başak Güntekin (Parsut Kitap) and Mehmet Erkurt (Can Yanilari).

And the Georgian fellows Mariam Bakuradze (Intelekti) Luka Limeri Grigolia (Sulakauri).

Project partners: Ukrainian Book Institute, Mystetskyi Arsenal's LitLab, Book Forum.

Publishing Sector Briefs

The United Kingdom

Book publishing has the largest turnover of any activity within the UK’s creative economy, accounting for 32% in 2016 (Source: Centre for Economics and Business Research study). Its contribution to UK GVA has increased by 47% since 2013.

Book publishing is the second largest employer within the UK creative industries after performing arts, responsible for 21% of all CI employees in 2016, or 28,276 jobs. For comparison, book publishing alone employs more people than the UK fishing industry (which employs 24k people). Publishing in the UK is dominated by the ‘big 5’ international conglomerates: Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, which each have a range of fiction and non-fiction imprints and editorial divisions. The UK also has a well-established ecosystem of independent publishers including SMEs like Faber, Canongate, Granta, and Profile, and a wide range of smaller independent presses (<10 employees) known for publishing risk-taking fiction, non-fiction and poetry. 

2018 saw mixed results for publishing revenues, with some areas expanding (e.g. audiobooks and exports) while others contracted (e.g. physical sales of domestic fiction). 

Total book sales for fiction were down 3% in 2018 to £588m. There was an increase of 4% to £229m for fiction digital book sales (including audiobooks) and a decrease of 7% to £359m for fiction physical book sales. 

Total physical and digital book sales for children’s were up 3% in 2018 to £368m, with total physical book sales up 3% to £351m and total digital book sales down 1% to £17m. 

Total physical and digital book sales for non-fiction/reference were up 1% to £954m, with physical book sales income level in this category at £878m and digital up 10% to £75m. (Source: Publishers’ Association Publishing Yearbook, 2018). 

Sales of translated fiction in the UK were up in 2018 by 5.5%, with more than 2.6m books sold, worth £20.7m – the highest level since Nielsen began to track sales in 2001. Translated fiction sales have almost doubled over the last 15 years, from 1.3m to 2.5m copies. (Source: Nielsen report for Man Booker International, 2018)

Audiobook sales in particular have seen huge growth (total consumer audiobook sales income has risen 43% to £69m) as ever-increasing numbers of people opt to enjoy books in a way that suits new technologies and keeps pace with our busy lives. (Source: Publishers’ Association Publishing Yearbook, 2018). 

Ukraine

Ukraine has a vibrant and fast developing creative sector. As of 2017, the share of creative industries was 4.4% of Ukraine's GDP.

Ukrainian publishers are typically independent, medium-sized (15-50 employees) or small (5-10). The sector publishers around 20,000 new titles a year. According to Chytomo's Ukrainian Reading and Publishing Data 2018 survey, most Ukrainian publishers specialize in translated literature. For 48% of the respondents, translated titles account for more than 50% of titles, and for almost 25% of respondents, the share is even bigger than 75%. The languages most often translated are English (67%), French (38%), German (34%), Polish (27%).

Recent trends include a higher ratio of translated titles, the emergence of domestic Ukrainian non-fiction, international recognition of Ukrainian children’s illustrators, and a significant uptick in new independent publishers. At the same time, the Ukrainian sector faces significant challenges: lack of centralised sales data (and outdated market mechanisms implemented during the post-Soviet transition); underdeveloped book distribution networks around the country, need of effective copyright regulation, and no tradition of literary agents (whose functions are usually taken over by publishers).

In recent years, there has been significant government-level support for the publishing industry. The Ukrainian publishing industry has raised its international profile (and the profile of its authors) at key forums - Frankfurt Book Fair, Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the London Book Fair. In March 2019, The London Book Fair's International Excellent Award went to the Book Arsenal Literary Festival, which takes place in Kyiv, Ukraine. Among the latest initiatives are the National Reading Promotion Programme, Libraries Replenishment of Collections, and a Subvention Programme for Translations.

Georgia

Georgia has a small but flourishing publishing sector. Within the Georgian market translated titles represent about 55% of the total titles published each year. Domestic titles make up the remaining 45%. The ratio has increased in favour of domestic titles in recent years, due to growth in the domestic sector and Georgia being Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Area/genre the ratio of all published books:

  • Fiction - 45 %
  • Academic / STEM - 20%
  • Children's Literature - 11%
  • School Books / Manuals / Textbook Collections - 2%
  • Supplementary Textbooks / Manuals - 9%
  • Picture Books (Comics, Graphic Novels) - 0.1%
  • Religious Books - 1%
  • Other (Musical scores, Maps, Dictionaries, Albums, etc). - 4%

(source: Georgian Publishers’ Association)

80 % of Georgian publishers are small independent publishing houses (5 employees or fewer). Only 20% are considered large or medium (over 20 employees). There is no tradition of literary agents in Georgia; this job is done by editors and rights managers of publishing houses. International rights sales are often facilitated by the Georgian National Book Centre.

Turkey

Turkey has a population of over 80 million. According to YAYFED (Federation of Publishing Professional Associations) 410,641,305 books (units) in total were sold in 2018. Trade publishing accounted for 34.21%, with 140,477,335 units. According to the ISBN Agency affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 67,135 new titles were produced in 2018, an increase of 11.27 %. This reflects the success of independent publishing, and puts Turkey in the 6th place in the world ranking according to IPA data.

Despite this, the overall sector has faced significant challenges in recent years. These challenges include a steep increase in material costs, an 18% increase in sales tax, faltering consumer confidence in the face of broader economic problems, and the well-publicised censorship, harassment and persecution of writers and publishers.