April 12, 2024


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More and more young Europeans study in English

More and more young Europeans study in English

That was already eight years ago. At the time, Marlene Seegers, a literary agent at the American 2Seas Agency, learned from Dutch publishers that young readers — who grew up on YouTube — are developing a serious interest in reading in English. Conclusion: Today, young twenty-somethings can no longer consider studying anything new Sally Rooney in their mother tongue.

So publishing a book in Dutch translation has become problematic for publishers. Especially since the cost of a translated book is significantly higher than the original version. To escape the low sales volume, some experts try to limit the simultaneous publication of the translated book in Dutch and in the original language. Author What is a famous Anglo-Saxon writer?

Studying in English is popular

The event is now exported to all Nordic countries. “What language do you study?” In response to the question », posted on the social site Reddit, readers in their 20s and 30s and from Germany or Nordic countries say they have studied English since childhood. Not only do they believe it is important to choose books in English, but they also say they prefer to read the work in its original language. A new trend is gaining popularity with the rise of social networks including BookTok where young readers share their reading advice.

An essay in conjunction with the Frankfurt Book Fair 2023 Bookseller In fact, by 2022, export sales of books from Great Britain to Europe have seen an 8% growth. For Germany, the figures even rise to +27%. But the article underlines that this development will in no way benefit authors, who receive much less in export royalties than in transferring rights in foreign languages.

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Favorable tendency to transfer French rights

Interestingly, this trend has had a positive impact on the work of Marlene Seegers, who transfers rights mainly to French publishers. After five years working in the rights department at Stock, Seegers launched his company in the US in 2011. It represents nine French and international publishers, including Allary Éditions, Les Escales, Éditions de la Martinière Littérature, or Massot Éditions, and six other French publishers, including Actes Sud, Les Arènes/l'Iconoclaste, or Éditions XO.

“At the beginning of the agency's operation, it was very difficult to produce French non-fiction. On the other hand, English non-fiction was accepted by publishers. Now, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ » says Marlene Seegers. According to the agent, publishers will now ignore the English language. “good books”, Including more and more French feathers.

Seegers thus retained the L' series.Future Arabic (alari) of Riyadh ShatoofIt is sold in more than 20 countries “Opened a lot of doors for the agency”. There has also been a strong demand for philosophical essays recently Charles PepinThe last of which, Live with your past And self confidenceReleased in 2018 and sold in around twenty countries.

“French feminism has a good reputation abroad” Again quoting from Alary, Marlene adds Seegers. Prehistoric man was also a woman of Marilyn Patto-Mathis as well as Futur.es of Lauren Bastide. On the fiction side, award-winning books are the most successful The most secret memory of men From (Philippe Rey/Jimsaan). Mohammed Mbukar sirOver 30,000 copies were sold in the Netherlands, or so Look after her (The Iconoclast) of Concorde 2023, Jean-Baptiste d'AndreaSeegers sells as an affiliate agent.

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“Publishers closely follow what the Dutch do”

On the rise of English reading in the Nordic countries and Germany, “Publishers are closely following what the Dutch are doing », referring to the seers. “It's a little like 'Wild West' They try everything. When group Singel Uitgeverijen started releasing in English and everyone screamed. Many people do it now.

More publishers in the Netherlands and Flanders are now buying translation rights in Dutch and English. Sometimes, even three editions of the same book are obtained: published in an English-speaking country, translated into English in the Netherlands – and translated into Dutch, subject to a single price, beneficial to the bookseller. “Given the importance Book Dockers has, the publisher will keep the original cover and title, but we will see 'Dutch Edition' written in very small letters on the bottom of the cover” , Seegers explains.

Although this new tendency to study in English had the effect of increasing the exchange of French rights in Europe, Seegers observed, “A New Generation of Publishers in America, Studying in Foreign Languages”. An event that the agent interprets “The creation of Harpervia, which has been translated into all languages” Seegers auctioned the English world rights to whom my husband (The Iconoclast), by Maude Ventura. But also in the amount taken “Independent publishers like Transit Books, whose author John Fosse won the Nobel Prize in 2023, Deep Vellum or New Directions. »

Although it is still too early to measure the real effect that the increase in reading in English will have on the European market or on the sales of French-language works, Seegers confirms that this phenomenon is the subject of much debate among publishers. For good reason, during the last Göteberg Book Fair, young readers who are fans of BookTok were delighted to display their works.Annie Ernox… in English.

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Penguin Random House US: A new distribution center in the United Kingdom

In a sign of the new visibility of English-language books among young Europeans, the American company Penguin Random House is preparing to open a new distribution center in the United Kingdom, providing export sales to continental Europe. According to group CEO Nihar Malaviya, it will “Being operational next year, probably summer 2025”. Until then sales were handled from the company's US warehouse. The company will also produce local printing in the UK for some US titles.