4 min read

All set to go mobile? Part I: Electronic Rights

The move has happened and electronic books are mainstream now. With more than 80 tablet devices expected to hit the markets this year, new markets are going to open up that will allow additional channels to monetize content. Publishers will need to be ready to address these new market opportunities by figuring out customer needs, product offering, pricing strategy, content formats, delivery options, development and marketing strategies. A complete mobile digital strategy, so to say. This series of articles will focus on a few things that you need to get in place to be ready for selling on these devices. This list is in no way comprehensive, but it will get you started on the thinking.

  • If you are one of the few publishers still sitting on the sidelines, then this series of articles is a definite must-read for you.
  • If you have already explored selling electronically and want to go on the devices with a full-fledged digital strategy, then this series will help you with what to keep in mind when you formulate your strategy.
  • But, if you are among those who are already on their way with mobile products, apps and a mobile digital strategy – then this series can offer a few tips and ideas that you may not have thought about.

The term, eBooks, covers a wide range of possibilities, all the way from the familiar PDF to the new yet-to-establish formats. They are also consumed in various ways – on computers, on laptops, on PDAs, on smartphones and recently, on ereading devices and tablets. The ereading device revolution was unleashed by Amazon, with their Kindle reading device, and the tablet revolution by Apple, with the now ubiquitous iPad. These innovations opened the doors of mobile marketplaces for electonic books. The devices combined with their marketplace, have made ereaders and tablets the most preferred devices to consume eBooks.

Electronic Rights

The first place to start will be look at your title’s electronic rights. Though this may seem obvious, it is better to figure this out at the beginning rather than mid-way through defining your strategy. Do you have the rights for digitally publishing your titles? If not, you may need to renegotiate these rights with the rights holder – the authors, their agents or other distributors, who may have these rights. The rights should cover all devices and formats.

Geographic Rights

While figuring out the electronic rights, you may want to negotiate for the overall global rights for your electronic content. If you look at the spread globally of mobile technology and smartphones, the rate of growth is phenomenal in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries. Having rights to sell your electronic content in these countries will be important, as markets mature.

Language Rights

Most of us are familiar about how important the Spanish markets are, due to the huge market within the US. But, what about other languages? Chinese and Russian are three language that must be considered to have a global appeal for your content. These new markets will become important revenue generators in the near future.

Ancillary Rights

Now that the book rights have been figured out, what about the images that were used within the book? Were they a single-use license or print only? What about using the same image across different products? An eBook is essentially a different product from the print book in which the image would have been used originally. You need to make sure that you have the rights to these ancillaries or look around for suitable replacements. Ancillaries can be images, drawings, illustrations, videos, audio, and more.

Media Rights

As most of these tablets are multimedia devices, getting rights to different media adaptions of the book will ensure long-term adaptability for your content. Do you have the audio rights to the book? Can you deliver the title as an audio eBook or have a read-aloud option within the title? What about the rights to convert the book into a game? These media types provide immersive experiences and can provide additional monetizing options for the same content.

In the next part, we take a look at how you can plan your pricing and what you need to keep in mind while devising a mobile strategy. Watch this space for Part II, of Mobile Strategies – Pricing.