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dez 07, 2016
Creative Industries

Brazilian publisher conquers Asian market


Back in 2013, Antonio Erivan Gomes attended the Bologna Book Fair representing Cortez, a Brazilian publishing house. He learned something that would alter the strategy of his company: that China would end the “one-child policy,” which had been in place for decades. He had a light-bulb moment. In just a few years, China could experience the birth of 40 million children – a brand new generation of readers. Cortez, we should add, is a publishing house that partially focuses on children’s books. 

Seeing a potential for doing business in China isn’t quite the same as actually being present in the market, however. So how did the publishing company approach Chinese publishers? The strategy adopted by Cortez proved to be successful. The company made use of the solid network it had built over the years it spent attending book fairs. Cortez talked to people who knew how serious they were, and who were also able to help them break into the Chinese market. But the job was far from over.

“We had some growing pains at the beginning. For starters, we had a deal with a Chinese publisher, but it was canceled due to communication problems,” explains Gomes. “Our authors were really frustrated,” he continues, “as they were eager to be translated into Mandarin.”

Another key for having success in the Asian market is to be physically present. “I went to China at least four times over the past couple of years,” explains Gomes. His gamble has more than paid off, as his books have reached not only Chinese readers, but also book lovers in Taiwan, South Korea, and Malaysia. 

The process of selling the publishing rights, to a book finally hitting Asian stores, takes about 18 months. The books that are already circulating commercially have been issued on larger scales than just in Brazil. 

Antonio Erivan Gomes explains that minor adjustments had to be made to avoid cultural barriers and to smooth the reception of his company’s books, “but nothing that would change the soul of the work,” he guarantees. “Cortez stories are sophisticated but universal, and thus easily communicate with people from all over the world.”

Their success in the Asian market prompted Cortez to turn its activities towards more non-traditional markets – countries that could be open to receiving stories from Brazilian authors. Now, Cortez is anticipating that its Brazilian stories will be sold in the Middle East, with Turkey and Lebanon as the ports of entry.