Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Survey shows UK small publishers at risk of closing

A significant proportion of UK and Ireland’s small presses are at risk of closing due to the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, according to the results of a Bookseller survey.

Almost 60% of respondents said they could be out of business by autumn, with about 30% reporting they face a medium to high risk of shutting down altogether. Longer-term, 75% of small presses said that it is a concern whether they would be trading by March 2021, with 36% stating they are at medium to high risk of closing.

More than half (57%) of respondents stated they have no cash flow to support their business going forward; a quarter of respondents can’t afford to take on new titles; and 18% can no longer offer advances.

A vast majority (85%) of respondents reported a drop in sales of more than 50%, with nearly half (45%) experiencing a decline of over 70%.

Publishers Association CEO Stephen Lotinga said the survey results are ‘a startling reminder’ of how difficult small publishers are finding it to stay afloat, and should ‘serve as a wake-up call to the government that there are many small businesses in the creative industries that need further assistance’.

Lotinga said, ‘We will continue to make the case that publishers shouldn’t be paying business rates and that the government should be offering more flexible furloughing arrangements as well as ensuring that the existing support is not suddenly halted.’

The survey, launched by the Bookseller and writer development charity Spread the Word, received 72 responses, with the vast majority of respondents employing fewer than 10 staff.


Category: International news