Chapter 13: Paper, ink, and illustration rights

“Thank you for coming today.
We are having a kind of bidding, so I knew you were busy but we have gathered representatives with decision-making power.
We will keep the discussion brief, so thank you in advance.

As I gave my greeting, I noticed that most people in this country are generally friendly, but the representatives of the large trading company whose reactions are hard to read, nodded.

There are seven people gathered here, and it seems that it’s about right since we wouldn’t want too many.
It’s said that this is less than what we would expect for a nationwide distribution.

Rather than me leading the discussion, I have left it to Lord Balk.
He will take it from here.

“This time, we are looking for a trading company that can create maps.
If there are those who lack confidence in knowing all the terrains and settlements and cities in this country, you may leave now.
However, if there are several trading companies willing to work together, that would be fine too.
The profit will be huge.”

I was overwhelmed by Lord Balk’s confident voice and words.
I could never do it as he did.
I have obtained permission from His Majesty and His Highness.
I am the person with the power to decide who to give this “profit” to.
They told me to stand tall and concentrate on that.

A merchant is not someone to show weakness to.
They will eat you up.

“A “map” is a drawing that shows the topography and roads of this country, as well as the settlements and cities in various locations.
It’s a culture that our country doesn’t have, but it will become necessary for the future.
It will also become necessary for merchants.
After all, if you show a map to a new person, they can understand the road, so you don’t have to teach them one by one.
And as trade and transportation become more active, it will be necessary to update the map every year.
We will create a map creation department to provide accurate maps.”

The establishment of a new department.
I judged that it would be better to leave it to a trading company rather than establishing it at the royal palace.
Allowing the private sector to handle things related to the country, rather than managing everything in the country, will increase a sense of belonging.

Several words are exchanged among the representatives of the trading company, but they haven’t taken the bait yet.
The real performance begins now.

“To the trading company that creates the cartographic department, we will give the exclusive rights to paper and ink that will be distributed nationwide other than the purchase that the country will make from now on, as well as the map’s illustration rights.
In addition, we may ask you to transport documents from various locations upon request from the country.
——Please limit the discussion to 15 minutes.”

The materials and craftsmen for making paper and ink are employed by the country, but the finished paper will surely circulate outside of the palace, especially as merchants will switch to using paper for their contracts.
Managing wooden tablets or parchment is more difficult than managing paper, which is cheap to produce, can be made in large quantities, and is convenient to use.

And then there is the right to use the illustrations on maps, which is the right to print and sell maps that were commissioned by the country on paper.
If one can obtain this right, it would be possible to build a fortune with it, and the country would have to purchase updated maps every year.

Merchants are aware of the value of paper and ink through free trade after the war, as well as the stable and high profits that can be obtained from transporting them on behalf of the country.

The conversation became a lively and intense discussion.
When I looked at Lord Balk and asked if it would be over in 15 minutes, he responded with a wry smile and said it would be impossible.

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