The plummeting British pound is affecting deals cut at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, with UK publishers buying from Europe haggling for deals to be made in Euros as opposed to sterling.
Alessandro Gallenzi, publisher at Alma Books, said a weakened post-referendum pound was deterring UK publishers buying from the Eurozone or countries that use US dollars as their currency, and that it was a “big problem” for translation publishers.
He told The Bookseller: “Just as British holidaymakers will find their trip to France or Greece more expensive, publishers shopping around in Europe for books will see their buying power curtailed. Currencies fluctuate, and I am sure that the pound will recover in due course. But in the short and medium term this is a problem, especially for publishers like ourselves who acquire several titles from overseas.”
Caroline de la Bedoyere, director of Search Press, said UK publishers had “major worries” over deals already agreed in sterling that are due to conclude within the next year, with many print bills yet to be paid. “When that print bill comes in in dollars, we have to make sure we still make some money because our margins are going to be all over the place,” she said.
However, others have said the weak pound is boosting export sales. Michael Bhaskar, publisher at Canelo, said: “While I don’t agree with the reasons why the pound is down, in a way it is no bad thing for British publishing in that most of us are selling more outside the country then we are bringing in. It is good for export sales.”
Literary agent Diane Banks also noted a boon in foreign rights business. “As our deals are in Euros and dollars, our authors have received windfalls,” she said. “Our sterling business is all domestic, so no effect there. [It’s] all to the good.”