Post-Brexit shock for writers
Britain has a highly protected book market, thanks to European Union restrictions on book imports, but now that Britain is out of the EU after Brexit, there is talk of opening it up and liberalize imports. This has prompted a backlash from publishers and writers who fear Britain will be overwhelmed with cheaper imported books that will have a “devastating impact” on their income.
According to the Publishers‘ Association, the industry could see its physical sales drop by Â£ 1billion, while writers will see their royalties – already reduced by the dominance of retailers like Amazon – fall further due to the effect of training that this would entail. on local retail, forcing booksellers to lower their prices to stay in business. Under the current regime, books published in Great Britain can be sold freely in Europe, but cannot be re-imported into the internal market after being sold outside the EU. Imports of foreign editions of books printed in Britain are also prohibited.
The government has launched a consultation on maintaining the current regime or opening the market to international competition in the âfree marketâ spirit of Brexit.
More than 2,000 prominent writers, including Kazuo Ishiguro and Hilary Mantel, have warned against any attempt to weaken the current arrangement. In an open letter, they said a change could mean they could not limit foreign editions of their books sold in Britain.
âIt would reduce their domestic sales, hamper their ability to earn an income and have a devastating impact on our world-renowned book industry. If writing becomes a profession accessible only to the rich, the important stories will not be told, âthe letter published in The Sunday Times said.
Ishiguro told the newspaper that if the current copyright framework had not been in place âwhen I started to be an author, I wouldn’t have been able to write the kind of books that I did – nor even pursue a career in writing â.