By Katie Fisher, Director of Overseas Business Development
Earlier this month, Harlequin officially opened its 19th office in Istanbul, Turkey, and I was lucky enough to have been there for the launch.
It was my second visit to Istanbul—the first was in the summer of 2008, when Adam Kapusta (Managing Director of Eastern Europe) and I were visiting to assess the market potential. We liked what we saw—from a business perspective, Turkey is a large country with a stable economy, a high literacy rate, and a growing urban population—lots of potential women to buy our books. There is also a well established publishing industry, lots of bookstores, books for sale in many different kinds of stores, and a high proportion of translated fiction. If you name a bestselling fiction author, I’ll bet you’ll find his or her books on the shelves in Istanbul.
Our recommendation after this visit was that we should be in Turkey—about a year and a half later, we saw this recommendation turn into reality.
Fast forward to the launch of Harlequin Turkey (or Harlequin Türkiye, as it is known in the local language). On February 2, we held a luncheon for a small group of about a dozen local media at an absolutely gorgeous hotel right on the Bosphorus. Have a look at the room—stunning!
Speeches, interviews, questions & answers, and a great meal kicked off the day’s events. Here we are just before the event kicked off.
(From left to right: Arda Gedik, our local partner, Steve Miles, EVP of Overseas for Harlequin, me, Adam Kapusta, MD, Eastern Europe & Turkey)
We are working with a local company, Ekip, who looks after translation & editing, coordinates local printing, and helps us with marketing & distribution. Combining their local knowledge with Harlequin’s global knowledge feels like a recipe for success.
After the luncheon our PR agency sent a kit out to about 100 more media and we were thrilled with the results—the story of Harlequin Turkey’s launch has been picked up by news agencies, newspapers, internet and television channels across the country, and we are expecting further coverage in the March issues of many women’s magazines. A great way to get the word out to the women of Turkey!
Right now, we are selling 8 stories per month in Turkey, but we plan to expand our program during this year. Here’s a look at our Turkish books:
I managed to sneak in a little bit of free time to see some of the sites around Istanbul—it is such an interesting city with so much history. I would love to go back and spend more time there, though maybe next time I’ll go when it won’t be snowing!
The Blue Mosque