Nicolas Roche from BIEF on “French Books” and the Paris Book Market


Interview: A new event, the Marché du livre de Paris itself, dominates BIEF’s spring calendar of publishing rights activities in France.

Nicholas Roche. Image: BIEF

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

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“Fed up with Zoom and team meetings”

OReaders are of course familiar with the French BIEF, the International Bureau of French Publishing, which deals with the promotion of French literature on the international market.

Two important pieces of news surfaced for our rights edition today (February 25) in a Publication prospects interview with the Director General of BIEF, Nicolas Roche.

  • First of all, the BIEF organizes on April 21 and 22 on April 21 and 22 meetings of publishers during its new Paris Book Market on the sidelines of the Paris Book Festival (which is produced by the national publishing union). And this new BIEF Paris Book Market, Roche points out with exactly the same fervor that most of us feel these days, “is a face-to-face event, not a digital one.”
  • Second, says Roche, BIEF is pleased with the performance of its new Books From France platform – launched last fall for Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021 and now fully operational – which offers information on French books, publishers and various grants for the international book community

“International trade is back for real,” says Roche. “And people, especially here in France, are ready to see real people. They are fed up with Zoom and Teams meetings.

Like so many Frankfurt trade visitors we’ve heard of, Roche explains how French publishing rights professionals appreciated the opportunity to have a walk-in meeting with colleagues. The smaller crowd with fewer scheduling conflicts allowed for longer and more involved conversations. It seems to have whetted everyone’s appetite for more in-person interaction.

Roche talks about feeling the same feeling at the Sharjah International Book Fair where, he says, “It was like a huge brotherhood for two or three days” at the Sharjah Publishers Conference, as his professional program.

“International trade is back for real. And people, especially here in France, are ready to see people in real life.Nicolas Roche, BIEF

And the French publishing industry entered 2022 on a positive note of big revenue jumps.

“As you know, we had very good numbers at the end of 2021,” says Roche, referring to the Syndicate “barometer” (SNE) report which showed that sales of 405 participating publisher-members increased 20.4% in 2021 compared to 2020, and up 24.3% compared to 2019 sales.

Clearly, this is the kind of wind any domestic industry wants at its back, and BIEF is capitalizing on the good news with its plans for the spring.

In fact, the BIEF should arrive at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair with the largest collective stand, according to Roche, of around 450 square meters. Those who were in Frankfurt in October saw it previewed at BIEF’s French stand, which Roche recalls was around 1,000 square meters over a wide expanse in Hall 4. He points out that while some publishers will always want to have their own stand—particularly for special anniversary occasions and so forth—”since the beginning of last year, we can say that publishers are ready to demonstrate that they are more strong together” while also managing some cost savings during this transition phase of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“They want to see each other and meet,” Roche says, “to get the business going again.” To that end, BIEF will also have its usual strong presence at the London Book Fair in April, Roche says, although with some concern about the number of members of the international business community who will be able to travel for it, particularly from the United States and Asia.

For now, BIEF’s main focus is on welcoming international publishing and rights professionals to the French capital at its all-physical Paris Book Market event – a first for the organization, in made.

April in Paris: BIEF Book Market, April 21 and 22

At the Galerie Joseph in Paris, location of the BIEF Paris Book Market. Image: Joseph Gallery

Since SNE’s Paris Book Festival is a general public event, you can think of BIEF’s Paris Book Market as a parallel professional program focused on international rights trading.

Foreign people interested in the Paris Book Market must register (free of charge) before March 14 here. There is a page to download for registration, as well as all the details about the event.

Located in the Parisian district of Marais, in the fourth arrondissement, “the real center of Paris”, notes Roche, the Galerie Joseph on rue de Turenne will welcome participants of the Paris Book Market on nearly 1,000 square meters, at only about 20 minutes. from the SNE Book Festival by metro. At the beginning of April, registrants can begin to organize their in-person meetings with French rights representatives.

Indian publishers are expected at the Paris Book Market, since India is the guest of honor at the SNE Book Festival, with which, notes Roche. And French publishers are “voting with their feet”, as they say, for the new face-to-face Paris Book Market of the BIEF, with some 80 of them already registered.

Here is the list of French houses now in place, with a reminder of the date of March 14 to register here. Following the list of publishers here, we have a few words from Roche on the Books From France platform.

  • Abc Melody
  • South Acts
  • Acts South Junior
  • Adverb
  • Akinome
  • Michael Albin
  • Albin Michel Youth
  • Albin Michel Practice
  • Allary Editions
  • amaterra
  • The arenas
  • Artege
  • Au Diable Vauvert
  • Nonsense
  • Bayard Editions
  • Media Benjamins
  • Calmann-Levy
  • Casterman
  • grape varieties
  • Dargaud
  • Discovery
  • Delcourt / Delcourt Group
  • Of Christmas
  • Women – Antoinette Fouque
  • Circles in the O
  • leisure school
  • Edit8
  • Anime Editions
  • EHESS Publishing
  • Editions des Elephants
  • Emmanuelle Collas editor
  • Stopovers
  • Eyrolles
  • Fayard
  • Flamarion
  • FLBLB Editions
  • red ants
  • Gallimard
  • Gallimard Leisure
  • Glénat Editions
  • Great People Editions
  • Grasset
  • Gulf Stream Editor
  • Hachette Youth
  • hatter
  • Associated Humanoids / Humanoids
  • Humensis
  • JC Lattes
  • Kilowatt Editions
  • La Martiniere
  • Larousse
  • Liana Levi
  • Wording
  • Mercury of France
  • Editions Michel Lafon
  • Nat
  • Odile Jacob
  • Editions of the Olivier
  • Payot & Shores
  • Editions Fouettard
  • play bac
  • Editions Plume Blanche
  • Carrot Feather
  • POL Editor
  • Pond of the Hen which
  • Sciences Po Press
  • Editions du Ricochet
  • Robert Lafont
  • Rouergue
  • chessboard street
  • world street
  • Sarbacane
  • Sun / Delcourt Group
  • Store
  • The round table
  • High Talents
  • Tallandier Editions
  • Pocket Universe
  • Verdier Editions
  • Vigot Editions
Livres de France: thematic search capability

Content currently on the Books From France homepage. Other such content can be found on the ‘Headliners’ button. Image: BIEF

Many national markets have appeared online in recent years, and Publication prospectsInternationalist professional readers are familiar with, for example, Books From Norway, New Italian Books and the Finnish Literature Exchange (FILI).

The approach that Books From France takes, says Roche, is distinguished by thematic sections that allow for searches within subject areas.

“I think we have the same spirit,” says Roche, like many of the longer-established national market collective platforms, “but it’s a new formula. We’ve invited all of our members to be part of a thematic selection. Social networks or landscapes or family, for about six months. We invite all our members to give one, two or three titles – these can be from a list of titles or new titles”, compared to a given topic.

“So we have a huge selection on special topics” and the effect is to make this categorized content available across all genres by engaging as many editors.

“We have new content every month, new themes,” Roche explains, “and we spread information about them via social media and email.”

Here is the page on which to subscribe to the Books From France newsletter in English and stay informed of what the platform offers. A quick glance under the ‘Themes and Topics’ button today reveals focal sections on ‘Food Issues’ and ‘Migration, Xenophobia, Reimagining the ‘Other” and ‘Cities’.

“It was very important for us” when designing the site, explains Roche, “to have something very easy to use, to find information easily and to facilitate contact between our French publishers and international professionals. “. The site, he says, is intentionally designed as a retail site “like Amazon or other sites you’re used to. So you have a basket. You put two books from two different publishers in France. This order is automatically split” and the information you request is sent to the respective publishers of the titles you are considering.

“It’s a quick and easy contact, and the rights managers simply answer questions from international publishers.

“The very first contracts were successful,” says Roche, “and one of the most important things we have on the platform is all the grants from the French embassies, country by country, the Institut français, all programs dedicated to supporting the translation “editing” of French content.

To find out more about funding opportunities, just click on the “Aids and subsidies” button on the site, and you will find the availabilities broken down by publishers, for overseas French-language bookstores and for translators.

And a side note on BIEF’s programming this spring: Ahead of the Paris Book Market, a “French Week Latina” lineup is scheduled for March 14-18, following last year’s digital “French Week” in May with Argentinian, Brazilian and Mexican publishers. Roche says there were some 1,500 online meetings between French publishing players and their international counterparts during French Week. If you are interested in the digital French Week Latina, you will find out more here.

In the Marais district of Paris. Image – Getty iStockphoto: BrasilNut1


To learn more about Publishing Perspectives on the French market, to learn more about BIEF, to learn more about book fairs and trade shows, and to learn more about publishing rights, click here.

To learn more about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, click here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for CNN.com, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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