Subsidiary Considerations: Serial Rights - article

Magazines acquire pieces of books. They are happy to publish excerpts, especially before the books come out. In Vogue or Vanity Fair or Sports Illustrated or Time Magazine, you’ll often see an exclusive story about someone who has a book coming out in two or three months. That’s a deal someone in subrights made with an editor at the newspaper or magazine. Editors are very keen to get this kind of material, because content is king, and getting exclusive rights to a story is a big deal.

There used to be a lot of small magazines that specialized in fiction or particular kinds of nonfiction. There are far fewer of them now, because information has moved to the internet. It used to be that you could sell five pieces from a book to a newspaper, and they would run it across several editions. It’s harder to do that now, but serial rights are still a vital market, and I think they’re going to be a growing market, because all the new delivery systems we have—smart phones and the internet and so on—still need material, and a good book is a good book no matter what form it’s in.

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