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Istanbul Will Become a Copyrights Market in Five Years

Istanbul Fellowship Program, which was launched by Turkish Press and Publishers Copyright & Licensing Society (TBYM) for the first time in 2016 with a view to contributing to cooperation between Turkish publishers and publishers around the world and turning Istanbul into a copyrights market, will be held for the third time on 09-11 March 2018.

In the past two years, the program was organized with participation of publishers that are a member of TBYM. This year, Fellowship Istanbul will have a much broader scope as publishers, agencies, professional publisher organizations, publishing nongovernmental organizations and authors will be invited to take part in this year’s program.

Turkish Press and Publishers Copyright & Licensing Society (TBYM), the biggest professional organization in the sector, held a launching meeting for this year’s Istanbul Fellowship Program on 23 December 2017 at Sura Hotel.

In addition to the representatives from institutions and organizations that support the program, there was a great interest from representatives from publishing houses as well.

Dr. Muhammed Hamidullah Ağırakça, Head of Committee of International Relations at TBYM delivered a presentation on the program, while Mr. Tayfur Esen, President of TBYM, made the opening speech.

Offering a general overview of the first two Fellowship Programs organized in the past two years, President Tayfur Esen briefed the participants about the preparations, current status and future plans regarding the Fellowship Program.

Almost 100 Participants from 50 Countries

The Fellowship Program was planned for the first time in 2015 in Sharjah, when President Tayfur Esen met Mohamed Ali Baydoun, Secretary General of Arab Publishers Society. “We held the first program in 2016, with participation of 17 publishers from 9 countries. In 2017, the Second Fellowship Program was attended by 30 publishers from 21 countries. For this year’s event, which will be held on 09-11 March 2018, we targeted participation of almost 100 publishers from 50 countries.

Turkey Has a Huge Publishing Market

“Turkey really is a beautiful country. Turkey is a country that produces, with a strong cultural and intellectual tradition” said President Tayfur Esen: “We have many objectives to reach through this organization. One of these objectives is to establish a database of Turkish publishing sector. This database will not only contain information about Turkish publishers, but will also feature sectoral data for world publishers about Turkish publishing sector… This organization will bring about multifaceted added value. We may not always be able to sell. We need to be prepared not only to sell but also to buy in this venture. Turkey has a huge publishing market. A total of 404 million books –with banderols- were published last year, and this figure does not include publications shorter than 64 pages, for which banderols are not required. The volume of the market is a positive factor for all of us. What we need to do is to be more attentive to every single detail and make due preparations”.

Emphasizing that among the many applications received through www.fellowship.istanbul, TBYM need to choose 50 national and 50 foreign publishers in accordance with budgetary restraints, President Tayfur Esen said that this number could only increase with publishers willing to cover their own organizational expenses.

This is Not a Dream

President Tayfur Esen also said that TBYM expect additional resources to be available: “if we could utilize such resources – and I hope the venerable representatives here today will pledge their support for the organization to increase this number to 100- we will be most grateful to the contributors. This is no illusion. This is not a dream. We are talking about concrete facts here.”

Istanbul Governor Offers Continuous Support

President Tayfur Esen offered his gratitude to Vasip Sahin, Governor of Istanbul, who supported the fellowship program since the earliest phases: “Governor Mr. Vasip Sahin has been with us since we commenced this project 2 years ago. Once he said to us, ‘friends, this program must continue for at least 10 years, for only in 10 years may we get the desired results’. We paid a visit to the Governor this week and presented our reports on the program. Upon seeing the reports, Mr. Governor said ‘Insha’Allah we will achieve our targets in 5 years’. In five years, Istanbul will become a prominent copyrights market and publishers around the world will mark Fellowship Istanbul in their calendar alongside the big events like Frankfurt Book Fair.”

We Are a Family and We Need Your Support

President Tayfur Esen finished his remarks by emphasizing his belief that in five years, we will reach our targets regarding Fellowship Istanbul. “We are a family and we will achieve these results with your invaluable support. We want you to be prepared for this. Do not be caught in the storm when it comes. Let us make the most of these opportunities and grow stronger and bigger together. We firmly believe in this and prepare ourselves accordingly. We observe the highest professional standards and you will see that we will achieve great things. Thanks to all of you for being here today.”

Following President Tayfur Esen’s speech, Asst. Prof. Akif Pamuk, faculty member at Marmara University Faculty of Education, member of the Board of Directors of TBYM and head of R&D Committee, took the floor.

Mr. Akif Pamuk briefly informed the participants about the content of the organization on 9-11 March 2018. Mr. Pamuk also explained the business networking model of the program and what kind of activities are going to be held with the publishers.

Fellowship is a Cultural Work of Turkey

“Fellowship Istanbul is in fact the beginning of a new story for all of us” said Mr. Pamuk in the beginning of his speech, “As publishers, we are actually conducting an intellectual production here. In other words, we keep the pulse of culture and arts. We do not regard this organization as an initiative of TBYM, but rather an extensive cultural work of Turkey that will facilitate our integration with international milieus.”

Stating that TBYM has gathered publishers from around the world in Istanbul for the past two years, Mr. Pamuk asked the participants to take part in the program: “Do not only back us, but stand by us. Let us stand arm in arm, raise our demands and jointly undertake the whole process”.

Beyond the Target: 323 Applications from 63 Countries

Mr. Akif Pamuk also informed the participants about this year’s targets and vision regarding Fellowship Istanbul: “Our target was to reach 50 publishers from 50 countries. Currently we have received 323 applications from 63 countries including Turkey. 31 December 2017 is the deadline for applications from abroad. Turkish publishers will have a little more time to apply. As a matter of fact, we have received applications from some countries that some of us may not be able to identify on a world map. Even if we do not buy and sell any copyrights, this will be an invaluable cultural encounter”.

41 Publishers Applied from Brazil Only

Adding that there are some mainstream languages that we are accustomed to and that are used predominantly in copyrights purchases, Mr. Pamuk gave details about number of applications and registration from each country through www.fellowship.istanbul: “We have 1 from Canada, 1 from Iceland. Translations from Iceland are a rarity in Turkey. We have 6 publishers from the US. Turkish publishers are regularly buying copyrights in the US market, which is the leader in publishing mainstream academic works. We have 2 applications from Colombia. Publishers of literary works are familiar with the Colombian market. We have 1 application from Mexico, 1 from Peru, and 41 from Brazil. Brazilians are curious about us, and we are curious about them. When it comes to one-to-one meetings, we will see which party will be the buyer or seller. But the point is that the Brazilian publishing market is also struggling to attract buyers abroad. One should also mention that it is not possible to think of a homogenous Brazilian market. There are many different types of publishers in Brazil, too. We have 3 applications from Finland, 1 from Norway, 1 from Lithuania, 1 from the Netherlands, 7 from the UK, 4 from Slovenia, 9 from France, 6 from Bulgaria. We are already familiar with English and French publishers, but 6 applications from Bulgaria deserve particular attention. We have 2 applications from Portugal, 3 from Italy, 3 from Spain, 5 from Denmark, 1 from Belgium, 1 from Hungary, 2 from Germany, 3 from Macedonia, 2 from Albania, 3 from Greece and 3 from Ukraine.

As you see, applications from Europe and Americas seem to be more or less complete. We should also admit that during the process, we have also seen publishers informing one another about the organization. In other words, while we need to appreciate the efforts and hard work of colleagues in the International Relations Committee and Board of Directors of TBYM, we should also note the importance of communication among publishers, who spread the word among themselves.

When we look at the rest of the world, we see 1 application from Uzbekistan, 2 from Iran, 1 from Nepal, 2 from Saudi Arabia, 2 from Bangladesh, 2 from Malaysia, 2 from Russia, 2 from Georgia, 5 from South Korea, 2 from China, 3 from Azerbaijan, 1 from Japan, 4 from Pakistan, 1 from Viet Nam, 5 from India, and 32 from Indonesia.

To be frank, we were a little appalled by the number of applications from Indonesia. While in Frankfurt, we talked to colleagues from Indonesia and asked them to announce this organization to their members. ‘We have 4.446 members’ they said, ‘are you sure?’ Then we said to them, ‘please inform as many people as possible. Send the message to publishers in different fields who could be interested in buying copyrights’.

We have 1 from Algeria, 9 from Egypt. For Egypt, this is particularly a high number. We have 2 applications from Qatar, 5 from United Arab Emirates, 1 from Morocco, 2 from Ghana, 3 from Nigeria, 3 from Kenya, 1 from Madagascar, 1 from Zimbabwe, 3 from Syria, 5 from Lebanon, 5 from Jordan, 1 from Djibouti, 1 from Ethiopia, 3 from Uganda, 1 from Burundi, 2 from Rwanda, 1 from Tanzania, and 1 from Mali.

We Have Especially Invited Publishers That Would Buy Copyrights

Mr. Akif Pamuk underlined that while sending out the invitations to foreign publishers, a special focus was placed on who would be interested in buying copyrights: “especially the big firms have different departments responsible for buying or selling copyrights. In other words, if we invite a big company and that company sends a representative that is responsible from selling copyrights, it is obvious that this representative will attend our event to sell copyrights. This is why we explicitly invited publishers who would be interested in buying copyrights”.

Stating that applications from foreign publishers would end by 31 December 2017, Mr. Akif Pamuk said due to the holiday season, no further applications were expected from Western European countries. However, the program could still receive applications from other parts of the world.

Submit Your Applications and Upload Your Catalogues Online

Emphasizing that the main objective of the event to be held on 09-11 March 2018 will be to gather together different publishers around the same table, Mr. Akif Pamuk kindly asked participants to finalize their applications in due time and upload their catalogues online. Mr. Pamuk also made the following remarks:
“Are we among the publishers that applied from Turkey? First, I would like to thank our colleagues who have already submitted their applications. To the rest, I would kindly ask finalizing their applications as soon as possible. Many publishers that have been invited to the program have already uploaded their catalogues online and expect you to do the same. Before sitting together with these publishers, every publisher will have a chance to go through catalogues of one another. We are here talking about a half-an-hour long meeting to discuss buying and selling of copyrights for certain books. As a matter of fact, we have gone through a preparatory process during which we analyzed how we could sell the copyrights of books published in Turkey. In other words, there will also be a catalogue in English alongside the Turkish version. This is the point I referred to in the beginning of my speech. This is how this program will contribute to development of Turkish publishing sector. In the future, Turkish publishers will be inspired from such encounters with publishers abroad. They will try to reflect the latest trends and ideas in their work. But our fundamental objective here is pretty obvious: we want to sell what we produce here to foreign partners.”

Regardless of whether one publisher sells or buys a copyright, said Mr. Akif Pamuk, they will be part of an environment where they think about ‘how to sell copyrights’, and this is an added value in itself. “Even participating in these meetings will contribute to a great extent to the skills and capacity of our publishing sector. After all, we define this process as an opportunity to gain new set of skills and experience, which is only possible through inviting 50 or as many publishers as possible to Turkey. The Fellowship Program has been defined as a process to which all relevant stakeholders make their contributions. We firmly believe that Fellowship Program will be sustainable and will grow even bigger next year. I hope to see more publishers from Turkey joining this organization and thank all of you for being here today.”

Following the speech of Asst. Prof. Akif Pamuk, head of R&D Committee, Dr. Muhammed Hamidullah Agırakça, Head of International Relations Committee, took the floor to brief the participants about what works have been carried out so far regarding the organization of Fellowship Istanbul.

A Different Concept for the Third Year

Defining the Fellowship Program as a special endeavor of TBYM with a view to turning the program into a prestigious gathering for publishers abroad and the world market in general, Dr. Muhammed Hamidullah Agırakça, Head of International Relations Committee, said that this year’s concept for the program is different that the first two years.
Dr. Agırakça also stated that while in the first two years Fellowship Program mainly concentrated on Arab and Middle Eastern countries, this year it will have a more significant impact in the international arena thanks to the support of the Ministry of Culture and professional organizations: “We have started our preparations in June 2017. In about 6 months, this is what we have been able to.”

On 09-11 March, There Will Be a Pairing Traffic

Asking for support from the participants for the remainder of the process, Dr. Muhammed Hamidullah Agırakça stated that the launching meeting aims to ensure more effective promotion for the program and that there will be a pairing traffic during the event on 09*11 March 2018.

Mr. Agırakça said that online pairing between Turkish and foreign publishers is not operative yet, citing a few reasons for the current situation: “This function is currently not included in our software. The main reason is that applications from foreign publishers will continue until 31 December 2017. For Turkish publishers, the deadline is 23 January 2018. These dates were set on the assumption that we would host publishers from 67 countries. Some publishers from certain countries were not originally foreseen. The interest from Africa is a direct result of our protocol with the African Publishers Society. They also urged their members. Regarding Brazil… There is literally a wave of interest in Brazil in Turkish TV series. This motivates Brazilians to learn more about Turkey. This is also the case for Arabs, especially in the Gulf Region. Publishers that we come together on the occasion of fairs request books on foundation of the Ottoman Empire. And there is the Ertugrul phenomenon…”

Publishers Will Be Identified Through a Scoring System

Reminding that deadline for applications for foreign publishers is 31 December 2017, Dr. M. Hamidullah Agırkakça explained the future process as follows:
“As of December 31st, applications from foreign publishers will end. After that, members of the International Relations Committee will play a significant role. We will establish a scoring system on the basis of which the members of the Committee will identify the participating publishers. Also during this process, we will seek contributions and opinions of the Ministry of Culture, prominent cultural institutions, Press and Publishers Association, etc. to identify how we can attract the most prestigious publishers to the event and what criteria will be used to identify the quality of the publishers.

Hard Work, Limited Opportunities

Pointing out to the fact that the original target for the event was to host 50 publishers from 50 countries, Mr. Muhammed Hamidullah Agırakça stated that the interest in the program has proved that 50 is not a high enough target: “In the face of the applications, I feel that ’50 publishers from 50 countries’ is not a high enough target. We need to make a distinction between a country with a population of 300 million people and a country with a population of 8 or 9 million people. Our main objective is to attract as many publishers as possible. Certain intuitions will offer their contributions along the way, including the likes of Istanbul Governorate and Istanbul Development Agency. For the applicants not admitted to the program, we try to identify what we could offer to them in case they choose to attend the event at their own cost. We will be covering the flights, accommodation, and all other relevant expenses of these 50 publishers. For the remaining publishers, we urge them to buy flight tickets in the process. We will try to provide them with an opportunity to access more favorable accommodation or to attend business lunches or dinners. We will also try to increase this number. After this, applications from Turkish publishers will end by 23 January 2018. Then starts the period of pairing foreign and Turkish publishers.

Translation Support Will Be Provided

Before ending his speech, Mr. Muhammed Hamidullah Agırakça stated that TBYM is working to find translators of English as well as French, Arabic and Spanish languages: “When publishers log on the system following their applications, they will have a chance to browse profiles and send meeting requests to publishers. We will organize one-to-one meetings in Wow Istanbul Hotel, right next to CNR Book Fair, where the event will take place. Appointments for these meetings will take place on the program portal online. We will have translators in the field to assist these meetings. Not all the publishers have a specific officer responsible for copyrights. We are working to find translators of English as well as French, Arabic and Spanish languages. A translator will accompany the participants of these one-to-one meetings. We will also have a support desk. Publishers will have a chance to get support here by making appointments. We will then try to allocate a translator for our publishers. In this regard, we are trying to maximize our capacity.”

Briefing the publishers about the www.fellowship.istanbul website and software specifically developed for the organization, Fellowship Coordinator Ms. Nagihan Düzel explained what users may face the process of becoming active members of the portal, the advantages of joining the portal for Turkish publishers, what information is provided by foreign publishers that sign in to the portal.

The launching meeting for the 3rd Fellowship Program also provided an opportunity for participants to address their questions to relevant parties. The meeting ended following exchange of recommendations and opinions.