Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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UK book trade responds to Brexit

In the UK, the Bookseller has spoken to a number of publishers and booksellers in the wake of the country’s vote to leave the UK. Hachette UK CEO Tim Hely Hutchinson said: ‘My colleagues and I are disappointed at the outcome of the EU referendum. We wanted a Remain vote for both cultural and economic reasons. The various uncertainties are likely to be bad for business but Hachette is a strong, international publisher and we will stay strong whatever happens. We are not planning any action until there is more clarity.’ Bonnier Publishing Group CEO Richard Johnson echoed these views: ‘The sensible approach is to avoid making long-term decisions in the chaos of the next few weeks. For us, we will hold the line and keep our market share whatever the short term profit consequence. Our significant expansion plans remain unchanged, though we are likely to now shift where that growth will come from.’ Juliet Mabey, MD of indie publisher Oneworld, observed that ‘the 10% reduction in the value of the pound will be a huge blow to the industry, in terms of export income. Whether publishers sell rights—and that income is consequently devalued—or like Oneworld publish a large portion of their list in the English-language market themselves, the depressed exchange rate will be hugely significant’. Waterstones MD James Daunt said the bookseller ‘will do nothing in the short term’. ‘We face deep uncertainty and will learn over the next months quite how challenging the retail environment may become. Personally, I will be turning off the radio and putting aside the paper to seek solace in a good book.’ Among the few Brexit supporters quoted was agent Diane Banks, who said the decision to leave the EU ‘makes particular sense for an industry which produces an English language product and whose natural talent and customer base is in the wider world. In so far as trade agreements will remain relevant, we will be free to negotiate our own terms with those parts of the world which should constitute our largest markets, and to select talent from wherever we like’.


Category: International news