Bullish in the shadow of Brexit

News - Publishing Thursday, 14 March 2019

With Britain days away from leaving the EU, Brexit was a concern to some, less to others at Olympia

Tom Weldon, PRH UK CEO, said: "Brexit is a massive issue, not in deals but in supply chain." Key concerns were logistics and book production, and PRH has been stockpiling books in the UK and looking at printing on the continent.

French publisher Heloise D'Ormesson, whose eponymous publishing house is owned by Editis, said: "It is interesting - because of Brexit, we are seeing an actual increase in interest in our books and translations. It is as if the publishing community in the UK, which is largely anti-Brexit, is worried that they will become intellectually disconnected from the continent and are trying to mitigate this by committing to translating more books."

Suzanne Baboneau, MD of adult publishing at Simon & Schuster, said Brexit had not affecting any deals - but "we are in a bubble in here". Discussing trends, Baboneau said that true crime was on the up in particular, and non-fiction in general, "in this age of uncertainty".

Interviewed in the cacophonous International Rights Centre, Jamie Hodder Williams, CEO of Hodder & Stoughton and John Murray, said: "The whole world is talking about Brexit, but it is not affecting business in here." Hodder Williams described the general mood of the fair as busy, saying international publishers had money to spend, and pointing to Holly Miller's The Sight of You, which has gone for large sums in the US and Germany.

Caroline Michel, CEO of literary agency PFD, said: "It's been a very good fair, people are saying there is so much to buy and people have money to spend." She has a record nine agents at the IRC; this was "at least" her 32nd fair - and "there are more deals than ever". Michel also picked out non-fiction as "becoming more important".

Alan Samson, non fiction publisher and chairman at W&N, said: "I'm surprised at how busy the Hachette stand is – this is the first year when it has been hard to find a table," and, "Oddly, Brexit has not cropped up in any business meeting." He noted that Netflix was driving a surge in crime proposals.

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