Some information from a recent evaluation of Turkey’s publishing industry (click here):
According to the Turkish Ministry of culture, over the last 10 years there has been a 300 percent increase in number of books published. In 2011, according to the Turkish Publishers Association, 43,190 titles were released with sales of 1.5 billion dollars. 30-35% are translations, mostly from English. 54 percent are books related to education, language training and academic study.
E-books were introduced to Turkey in April 2010 by the online bookstore Idefixe and have had annual growth rate of 120%. This sector is growing 120% annually. In 2011 fifty Turkish publishers offered 1,314 titles in e-book format. Both international (amazon.com) and national (idefix.com, kitapyurdu.com, dr.com.tr) online bookstores are doing well.
In 2010, the Ministry of Education began the FATIH (Movement to Increase Opportunities and Technology) Project to provide tablet computers to all 17.5 K-12 students, to install smart boards in classrooms and to digitize textbooks. The project is expected to cost 10 billion dollars and be completed by 2015.
Piracy continues to be a problem, especially of schoolbooks, which make up a major part of the market. In 2011 law enforcement agents seized 2 million pirated schoolbooks. Law No. 5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Works (revised in 2004), criminalizes piracy, but enforcement is weak.
As a writer of both scholarly books and fiction that has been translated and published in Turkish with a variety of publishing houses, my own experience with Turkish publishers has been relatively positive (except for a portion of my text that a publisher omitted without my consent in a translation). My Turkish literary agent told me, though, that she decided to deal only with a handful of reliable Turkish publishers because there are too many disreputable start-ups that make a deal to acquire translation rights for a foreign book through her (she then pays the foreign publisher for those rights), but then the Turkish publisher doesn’t pay her, even though they go ahead and publish the book.
Turkish writers have told me that the only payment for their books that they can expect is the initial advance because the publisher doesn’t report sales figures. So even if their book is a best-seller, the publisher won’t tell the author how many are sold (or give an accurate figure) and consequently the author doesn’t earn any additional royalties beyond the advance. So authors try to get the best advance on royalties possible, figuring that this is the only money they’ll ever see. Intellectual property rights seems to be a weak concept even in the industry, and enforcement of laws is lax, allowing various kinds of piracy to flourish.