Gabrielle Etcheverry is Manager, Digital Publishing and International Markets at Livres Canada Books and over the last few months IPR has been working closely with her to produce the latest edition of the Rights Canada catalogue.
Founded in 1972, Livres Canada Books is a not-for-profit organisation based in Ottawa. Its mandate is to support Canadian-owned and controlled book publishers’ export sales activities in order to help publishers improve their overall export results. As the only national industry association for English and French-language book publishers, Livres Canada Books connects all publishers across Canada, providing services in both official languages.
We caught up with Gabrielle recently to ask her some key questions about trends in the Canadian market and the reasons behind working with IPR.
Could you tell us more about your background and what you enjoy most about working with Livres Canada Books?
Before coming to Livres Canada Books, I taught undergraduate courses at a local university, and also worked as a translator and editor. My doctoral research was on Latin American writers and publishers in Canada, and I feel that this background really complements my work at Livres Canada Books well. There are so many opportunities to connect Canadian publishers and titles to international markets and audiences. I also love that there are so many facets to the publishing industry—I am learning something new all the time! I feel very fortunate that I get to experience the sense of community and collegiality both at Livres Canada Books and among publishers more generally.
Part of your role is to work with international markets. What are the strong trends in your own market at the moment?
The Canadian market is very diverse—it has always been so along linguistic and regional lines, but it is becoming more diverse in terms of the kinds of titles it is producing and the audiences it is now engaging. There is a lot of innovation in terms of genres and formats, and a real interest in new and emerging audiences. Canada’s being invited as the Guest of Honour at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair has also really energized Canadian publishers and, I think, is bringing this new diversity into sharper focus.
Livres Canada Books recently published their 2018–2019 Rights Canada catalogue –the second catalogue produced in partnership with IPR and distributed at Frankfurt Book Fair two years in a row. What were your main objectives when putting this guide together?
Rights Canada is the country’s premier collective rights catalogue and has been a part of the Livres Canada Books publication schedule for over a decade. We distribute it at all the fairs we attend, including Frankfurt, Bologna, London, and this year the New York Rights Fair and the Guadalajara International Book Fair, as well as at our trade missions. Our objectives for this guide have always been to help Canadian publishers sell rights abroad and to provide international buyers with a sort of “snapshot” of the Canadian market. Partnering with IPR means that we can promote a greater number of titles to a much wider audience, and making it a free service means that participation is now available to a greater number of small and emerging publishers. Access to the IPR digital rights platform also means that publishers with little or no experience with international rights sales now have more support entering these markets.
Livres Canada Books has also been partnered with IPR as a member since 2017. Tell us more about how this membership has worked for Livres Canada Books as a group, rather than as an individual publisher.
This was a first for us at Livres Canada Books and it has been a great process. As a not-for-profit association tasked with supporting Canadian publishers in their export activities, we have been very careful to ensure that the Livres Canada Books membership portal is really about highlighting the publishers and their titles. We are merely providing publishers with access to the IPR platform and hoping that they will use it to the fullest. Given that IPR has mostly had experience with memberships for publishing companies, we had to work together to find solutions for our particular needs as a national not-for-profit. We have learned a lot along the way, and we keep looking for ways to improve the service to publishers.
What would you like foreign publishers to know about publishing in Canada, and where do you see the largest potential for Canadian content to grow over the next year?
I would like foreign publishers to get to know Canada’s diversity and maturity. Canada has often been viewed as a young nation that has just come out of colonialism. But there are many stories waiting to be told in this country and Canadian publishers are proving quite adept at finding them. They are also proving to be very quick at adopting new technologies and adapting to global market trends. There has been a lot of innovation in terms of formats, particularly audiobooks and audio formats, and I think we will see a bigger Canadian presence on the audio landscape. Canadian publishers are very savvy.
There are many different genres represented on the Livres Canada Books IPR Rights Portal. What types of books do you enjoy most, and what are you reading now?
I love fiction that has an element of the fantastical and mixes different genres and/or voices (Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis, is a great example). I have also started reading a lot of trade non-fiction now that I am no longer working in academia.
Because of our focus on the German market at work, I am currently reading the novel Measuring the World, by German author Danel Kehlmann (translated by Carol Brown Janeway). It is a fantastic read! As for non-fiction, I am reading Plutocrats, by Chrystia Freeland, who is Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and an award-winning author. She is a fascinating figure with an incredibly tough job, and her book is really eye-opening. And the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada is at the top of my holiday wish list!
At work, I have just started reading Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples, by Greogory Younging, who is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and the publisher of Theytus Books, the first Indigenous-owned publishing house in Canada. This is such an important project. It seems incredible to think that it has taken this long to have such an invaluable editing tool. I have only just started reading it, but I am already struck by Younging’s breadth of knowledge and thoughtfulness.
Join the conversation about rights and licenses by following us on Twitter @IPRLicense