From Publishing Perspectives:
We know we have shot ourselves in both feet. And a lot of us didn’t want to. And we’re rather scared.”
That’s what one member of the London publishing industry has said to me this morning, on waking to find that the Leave camp has been successful in the UK.
Another colleague in southern England writes, “All my friends and publishing colleagues just simply can’t believe that this has happened. Or that we have somehow allowed it to happen. Our economy is in free fall, and our government in turmoil.”
. . . .
Literary Agent and rights specialist Ginger Clark with Curtis Brown (the US agency, not the London-based agency of the same name) has been trying on Twitter to encapsulate some ways that American publishing people might consider immediate effects.
If you have steady income from previous UK deals, guess what–the £ is at $1.33. Usually it’s well over $1.60. Your steady income shrinks.
— Ginger Clark (@Ginger_Clark) June 24, 2016
Clark is supporting what another literary agent, Barry Goldblatt:
@Ginger_Clark Several in progress deals lost a third of their value. Of course publishing is affected!
— Barry Goldblatt (@barrygoldblatt) June 24, 2016
. . . .
I want to quote Cader at a bit more length than usual here because his musings on what’s coming are helpful in getting focused on the gravity of the moment:
“Already, the UK’s focus on the election had reduced consumer traffic at retail stores, and earlier in the month Waterstones’ chief executive James Daunt had warned employees in an email that leaving the EU would result in a ‘significant retail downturn’ that would ‘reverse much of the hard-won gain of the last few years.’…
“In addition to the prospect of lower ‘home market’ sales right now, UK publishers face the likelihood of rising costs on a number of fronts, albeit over time. Exporting books to EU countries may become more complicated and more expensive, even as a lower British pound reduces the price of exported goods (and/or makes sales in Euros, as well as Canadian and Australian dollars, worth more in pounds). But a significantly weaker currency could put also put UK publishers at competitive disadvantage: Their advances (and royalties) are worth less to trading partners, which could mean that UK publishers need to pay more to win new properties, or may not be able to buy rights as broadly as they would like.”
. . . .
The author J.K. Rowling had written earlier about some of the cultural currents:
“Nationalism is on the march across the Western world, feeding upon the terrors it seeks to inflame.
“Every nationalist will tell you that their nationalism is different, a natural, benign response to their country’s own particular needs and challenges, nothing to do with that nationalism of yore that ended up killing people, yet every academic study of nationalism has revealed the same key features. ‘Your country is the greatest in the world,’ the nationalist cries, ‘and anyone who isn’t chanting that is a traitor!…Now place your trust in our simplistic slogans and enjoy your rage aginst the Other!”
. . . .
“Brexit” was not a rehearsal, not a testing of the waters. It was and is the real thing, and—as The Bookseller’sown survey had shown, one that was not what nearly 80 percent of the UK’s publishing industry wanted to see.
As Blair put it, “We really thought it was impossible for us to take a decision like this” to pull that great nation out of the world’s largest collaborative marketplace. “The single market [of Europe] is where we sell half of our goods…We’re going to have to negotiate our way back into that.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives