AAOS makes a splash at global book fair
Academy publications attract worldwide interest at 2003 Frankfurt Book Fair
By Carolyn Rogers
At the 2003 Frankfurt Book Fair, AAOS staff members (from left) Marisa McCarren, Lynne Shindoll and Lynne Dowling and Dallas French pose for a group photo in the AAOS publications booth.
They also recognized that the target audience for these books would be much larger than the audience for the Academy’s traditional titles, which tend to concentrate on very specialized subjects, she says.
“With shrinking budgets, competition for shelf space in bookstores and rising costs, books with a broader appeal—such as Musculoskeletal Medicine and Essentials of Musculoskeletal Imaging—appear to be a better fit for our customers’ offerings,” Dowling says.
Imagine the AAOS Annual Meeting for a moment…then multiply it by eight. This might give you a feel for the magnitude of this fair. A total of 6,638 exhibitors from 102 countries were in attendance. By the end of the fair, 273,229 people had flocked to the exhibition center, creating the world’s largest trading center for publishing rights and licenses.
More than 335,000 titles were displayed and 3,000-plus special events were planned for booksellers, librarians, publishers and other members of the book industry—about a quarter of them involving Russia, the Guest of Honor.
The Academy has been an annual presence at the fair for the past nine years. The 2003 AAOS booth—located in the space provided by its European distributor, Eurospan—was staffed by Dowling, Dallas French and Marisa McCarren of the international department; and Lynne Shindoll of the publications department. The Academy had nearly three dozen appointments over the three days of the fair.
AAOS unaffected by slower pace of business
The pace of this year’s book fair was different than the 2002 fair. “The halls appeared less busy and the booths looked a little smaller,” Dowling says. “The mergers and consolidations of publishers was obvious, and many participants claimed that their appointment numbers were down this year, as well.”
Fortunately, the Academy was unaffected by these changes and all of its main publishers, agents and distributors were in attendance. A number of the Academy’s established customers expressed dissatisfaction with their overall results in 2003, most of them blaming:
Nonetheless, the customers Dowling spoke to felt confident that 2004 would bring an upward trend in revenues.
As in the past, “suitability of titles continued to be an issue,” Dowling adds. Although AAOS offered some titles with broader appeal this year, some specific demands set by industry do not fit with the Academy’s current selection: osteoporosis, minimally invasive surgery, injections and pain management.
Meetings with several key distributors proved very helpful in refining strategies and setting goals for 2004. The Academy’s main distributors continue to perform well and the fair provided an excellent opportunity to provide them with information about the Academy’s new and upcoming titles. Some new business was generated in India and Thailand, as well.
Growing translation rights business
Spanish language rights continue to be the Academy’s main source of rights income. The AAOS client list is growing and its products are very well positioned, thanks to good relations with the national societies and the demand created through AAOS education programs.
Italian rights have been affected by a considerable reduction in industry budgets, government restrictions for sponsorship and the “hold” pattern created by the delayed continuing medical education (CME) regulations. “However, we are starting to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ and we believe this trend could be reversed during 2004,” Dowling says.
In spite of a weaker economy, the level of Korean rights has remained constant, and a firm interest in the Academy’s main titles continues to exist. In addition, a well-established medical publisher has presented an interesting proposal for a full translation of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), which is currently being evaluated.
Although the level of activity in Brazil has decreased due to economic reasons, the Academy has regained some ground with the Brazilian edition of JAAOS and the soon-to-be-published Portuguese edition. AAOS continues to do well with reprinted versions in Portugal.
Japanese rights continue to be in the electronic area, but with the Acadmy’s new general titles and the push for a Japanese edition of JAAOS, Dowling expects to see some changes in the coming months.
Although unable to attend the fair, our Turkish customer has confirmed renewal of the Turkish edition of JAAOS and is also very interested in OKO.
China—a booming rights market
Based on the interest expressed during the fair, as well as the recent report of an AAOS consultant who attended the Beijing Book Fair in September with samples of AAOS titles, China is very fast becoming a booming rights market.
“With recent liability legislation that requires physicians to prove their innocence if sued, doctors and institutions in the region are rushing to sharpen their knowledge and skills,” Dowling says. The reprinted JAAOS edition that will become available next year attracted a lot of interest, as did the Academy’s newest general titles.
“Contacts made through the Beijing fair indicated interest in specific titles, as well,” Dowling says. “Every indication seems to confirm that this fair will require our presence starting next year.”
New markets: Poland, Russia, India
This year, the Academy met for the first time with large publishers in both Poland and Russia. Although these are emerging economies and the value of the rights will be very moderate for the time being, Dowling says they showed tremendous interest in the Academy’s new titles and she expects this will open the doors for additional opportunities.
In addition, after many years of dead ends, the Academy appears to have some good prospects in India, Dowling reports. “We have generated some genuine interest and various orders and proposals are being evaluated,” she says. India will be a market for both distribution and reprint rights.
The estimated value of projected royalties is $358,175, a 12 percent increase over business generated during Frankfurt 2002. That total will be pro-rated between end of 2003 and throughout 2005. Additional new business was generated from the distribution area. Combined, the total projected revenues emanating from the 2003 Frankfurt Book Fair are $388,375.
With this level of return on investment, the Academy will be certain to maintain a presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in the coming years, Dowling says.