At the Frankfurt Book Fair next Wednesday, we will be hosting a panel focusing on rights management, co-sponsored by the London Book Fair, IPR License, and Bookbrunch. In advance of the event, we asked Katherine Ryan, Head of Global Rights and Licensing for SAGE Publications to share how the rise of global and digital publishing and the changing consumer has impacted how she does her job.

Ingenta: What does your job entail for SAGE Publishing?

I manage any revenue generating activities which aren’t linked to our primary sales efforts, namely, licensing our content for sale via third parties.  However, my remit also includes management of our Pay-per-view and permissions programme as well as new partnerships and a bit of business development through new partnerships.

Ingenta: In your six years at SAGE, as new markets and new licensing opportunities arise, how has the approach to rights and licensing changed?

SAGE has grown significantly over the past six years, particularly in the STM Journals market,  which has completely changed the way we license our content.  Additionally, we’ve been able to engage our customers (direct and indirect) and learn about their usage habits, access preferences, etc. This new customer understanding has changed the way we license as it allows us to understand when third party sites offer consolidation, content management or other features that individual publishers do not offer.

Ingenta: SAGE publishes everything from books to journals to digital library products.  Do you have a rights strategy that encompasses all of that content or do you tailor your approach for each product?

SAGE has a licensing strategy for each product which balances the needs for exclusivity with dissemination. It’s important that we maximize readership and it’s nearly impossible to have a strategy which fits research, academic and practitioner content as all three user groups are so       different in their needs and habits.  Additionally, we have a number of products with non – traditional content (i.e. video, audio, interactive, etc.) which requires a different licensing strategy to traditionally commissioned written content.

Ingenta: How has the demand in the marketplace changed for print versus digital products?

The printed book is still one of the single most convenient and effective ways of storing and sharing information and we still see a lot of demand for print resources.  However, students and lecturers now expect to engage with content in multiple ways.  There’s now recognition amongst publishers that learning happens at all hours of the day, through any medium via multiple devices.  In order to meet the needs of researchers, learners and practitioners, SAGE needs to maintain the quality of commissioned content but ensure it’s suitable across product ranges. In response to researchers changing demands, SAGE has developed a range of digital resources that deliver content in new and highly adaptive ways. I think we’ve entered the age of modular content.

Ingenta: One of the big topics of discussion in the rights community is whether or not to automate some aspects of rights deals.  You inked a partnership with IPR License last year to expand SAGE’s  foreign licensing opportunities.  How has this partnership changed your day-to-day work at SAGE?  Does it open up time to explore new opportunities?

We’ve received excellent service from the IPR team.  IPR have diligently launched a number of email marketing campaigns and magazine features for SAGE as well as featuring our content on their website and assisting with promotion to their numerous foreign publishing contacts, for which we’re very grateful.

Ingenta: As global publishing opens up new territories and partnerships, publishers have to be even more vigilant about what types of rights and licenses they hold and what they have licensed to partners.  What kind of systems do you have in place to manage those?

SAGE manages rights via a proprietary editorial database system. We have also structured the team as a territory-based sales team. This structure offers autonomy to our Rights Managers as they are able to build meaningful relationships with foreign publishers and maintain a working knowledge of what is out for option, what’s been signed and what can’t be sold from our front list.



Wednesday, 9:30 – 10:30am, Hot Spot, Hall 6.2

Know Your Rights: The Benefits of IP Management

Global digital publishing has created a proliferation of rights opportunities that bring both growth opportunities and potential pitfalls through misuse or mismanagement of licenses. Hosted by Ingenta and partnering with the London Book Fair, Bookbrunch and IPR License, this panel will offer solutions from publishers on how to take advantage of new markets and audience demands.


Jacks Thomas, LBF to introduce the panel

Neill Denny, BookBrunch to moderate


Panelists include:

Jane Tappuni, IPR License

Randy Petway, Ingenta

Katherine Ryan, Sage