Fakefurt: The Auction

Every fantasy publishing game needs a fantasy auction of titles. A Fake Frankfurt, perhaps?

Enter: Fakefurt, where PubFight participants battle to build their lists from titles published by real publishers in the actual fall season, or, in the case of educational leagues, in the previous fall season.

1. Before the Auction

We've got you covered! League administrators will receive materials to help with your pre-auction planning, and with recording your bids during the auction itself. 

PubFight Catalogues on BNC CataList

The list of titles up for grabs at Fakefurt is available on CataList. You can find up-to-date, seasonal PubFight catalogues for Trade and Educational leagues on the BookNet Canada page.

All of the titles on the list have publication dates that fall within the PubFight season.

New to CataList? Require assistance? Refer to the CataList Help Manual.

Getting Ready for Fakefurt

For League Administrators

There are a couple of critical factors that must be set before your auction starts. We've suggested default values for all of these, but feel free to adjust any of these to meet the needs of your league.

  1. Decide whether each "publishing house" will be made up of individuals, teams, or a mix of the two. It's your call!
  2. Establish the distribution of titles (by subject) that each publishing house in your league must purchase.
    • The default distribution is exactly 10 titles per publishing house, broken down to 4 fiction, 4 nonfiction, and 2 juvenile.
    • Trade leagues may choose a different distribution if desired. This distribution must be communicated to the PubFight Commissioner as soon as possible: preferably before the league's auction occurs.
    • Optional: Some leagues require each publishing house to pick up at least two Canadian-authored titles. 
  3. Establish the budget each publishing house will have for the auction. 
    • Each publishing house must have the same budget available for advances at the beginning of the auction.
    • The default budget is $200,000 per publishing house.
    • Optional: Some leagues impose a penalty for any publishing house that spends its full budget without acquiring the necessary distribution of titles. Such penalties must be discussed and agreed upon by all members of the league before the auction begins.
  4. Establish the minimum bid and minimum bid increment required for each title. 
    • The default minimum starting bid is $5,000.
    • The default minimum bid increment (the amount by which bids must be increased) is $2,500.

For Players

Consider the sales cycles of books similar to the titles on the auction block.

    • Trade league participants can log into SalesData to research the performance of similar titles. Books from the same author or series are a great place to start, but don't forget to check out the publisher, format, release date, and price point to make sure the titles are truly comparable! You can get creative here: comp titles are a science and an art.
    • Educational league participants can refer to the list of comparable titles provided by your course instructor / league administrator. The list breaks down the top 250 fiction, nonfiction, and juvenile titles from an earlier fall season, and is a great source of information to guide students while they prepare for the auction and consider appropriate print runs during the game.
    • (tick) Learn more about the art of the comp from a verified BNC PubFight champ.

Consult BNC research reports to up your knowledge game.

  • For Trade league participants: Consult the SalesData Research Portal for recent, in-depth market intelligence on awards, series, movie tie-ins, etc. A password is required to access these reports, which you can find on the right-hand sidebar of the SalesData home page.
  • For Educational league participants: Find free research reports on the BookNet Canada website.

2. The Auction

Your league's Fakefurt auction may start as a friendly, possibly even jovial, gathering of your publishing colleagues. But be forewarned: it will quickly turn into a knock-down, drag-out fight to determine who gets each title up for auction. Bring a bidding strategy, tissues, and consolation cookies: this is where kingdoms are created and lost. 

  • The winning bid for each title becomes the advance paid by the winning publisher for the book. Before that title begins to generate revenue for the publishing house, the book has to "earn out" the advance paid. That means that unit sales x the profit margin for the book has to be higher than the advance paid before the title becomes profitable for the house.
  • Any part of the budget that is not spent during the auction will be carried over to the house's operating budget, and will contribute towards the house's game-end net profit or loss.
  • The auction is finished when all teams have purchased their complete fall lists.

(tick) You can use the Auction Helper to keep track of your titles, and those picked up by other players, during the auction.

3. After the Auction

As soon as possible following the auction, the league administrator must submit their completed auction tracker to the PubFight Commissioner.

  • Include the names & email addresses of all participants in the league. If you're organized in teams, please also designate one default name and email for each publishing house. 
  • Attach the completed Auction Tracker to give us all the details about who acquired what.
  • Email it all to the PubFight Commissioner at pubfight@booknetcanada.ca.

BNC staff will set up each publishing house in the PubFight system, and provide log-in details for all team members.