Any incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace is "completely unacceptable", and The Bookseller's survey has shown there are issues the book industry must deal with, the Publishers Association's chief executive Stephen Lotinga has said.
The results of the survey on harassment in the industry were revealed on Friday. Just over half of the 388 people who chose to respond had experienced harassment, rising to 54% of women respondents. Those working in publicity and in bookselling showed a particularly high incidence of harassment, but respondents who had been harassed came from across all sectors of the industry.
Lotinga commented: "Any single example of harassment is completely unacceptable and we have to work towards a professional environment where no person is made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace. Clearly this survey shows that there are issues for the industry to deal with and this is something we will be looking into with members as part of our newly formed HR Group".
He added: "It is difficult to know how big a problem this is from a single survey but we can’t afford to be complacent and more work is needed to make sure this isn’t reflective of wider working practices."
The survey findings have been very widely read, with some commenting on social media. Jack Butler, an editor for crime and thrillers at Amazon UK, commented on Twitter: “It’s vital that we shine a light on the unacceptable harassment culture in our industry." Ginny Hendricks, community and membership director of scholarly reference tool Crossref, tweeted: "Surprised it’s [the percentage of respondents confirming harassment] so low!" Meanwhile @constantwaif tweeted: "As a bookseller I had more sexual harassment than [as] a DJ or door girl..."
Further response from industry bodies and details of best practice in the trade will be given in the next issue of The Bookseller (Friday 17th November).