My friends and I plan to open a publishing house in our country, focusing on the Sci-Fi genre. We intend to get translation rights for foreign Sci-Fi books and publish them in our country.

However, none of us have worked/are working in the publishing industry, so we don't know anything about the fees associated with foreign translation right. Since going in blind would only lead to disaster, we decided to ask around here for some info first. Specifically, we want to know what kind of fees there will be (Will there be an advance? Will there be royalties? Will we have to pay advanced royalties?) and what is considered a fair price.

Any help would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


Your question is overly broad. Are you going to focus on any geographic regions?

The structure of payments will depend on current practices in any giving part of the world. Also, because you reside outside the author or publishers country, those practices may not apply to you. For example, they may expect payment in full upfront because a standard contract that offers royalties would be costly and impractical to enforce if you, the foreign entity, fail to make good on the terms of that contract.

The value of a work depends on its current and potential earnings in its published language. For potential earnings, consider the size of the population that speaks the published language; German (~93 million) versus Norwegian Bokmal (<4 million).

In many parts of the world, what you're going to pay depends on what the seller thinks you might be willing and able to pay. Lastly, who is your competition? If, from your nighttime campsite on the Kalahari, you spot the distant flash of toy lightsabers, be prepared to adjust your offerings.

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