What will happen to publishing post-Brexit? We explored some of the likely impacts in a special meeting a week after the EU Referendum, and now we are gathering members’ opinions on the new challenges and opportunities they face.
We are running the survey alongside the Publishers Association, and the results will inform the conversations we have with government in the months and years ahead. The findings will help us to understand the issues that members anticipate, and will shape our future events and resources too.
The survey remains open until the end of Friday (22 July), and we encourage all IPG members to complete it. What is already clear from respondents is that the major financial challenges are twofold: increased costs, most likely in relation to print and production; and depressed spending if consumer confidence takes a hit.
For academic publishers can be added to that list cuts in funding for some aspects of research and Higher Education. Some members also fear the UK will lose input on important pan-Europe issues like copyright, Open Access and the Digital Single Market. There are reservations about how any changes to freedom of movement will affect publishers’ recruitment and travel too, and fears about what will happen to English language sales on the continent. “Losing exclusive English language rights in Europe will be extremely costly as the US is likely to take advantage,” one member told our survey.
What about the opportunities? The biggest appears to lie in the weakness of the pound, making UK publishers’ exports more competitive, in the short-term at least. There might also be a chance for the industry to have greater influence on government policy on issues that affect publishers, like VAT on ebooks and piracy. But several members have told us they are sceptical that Brexit will have any upsides at all. “I remain unclear how this can be an opportunity. The publishing industry relies on strong links with Europe,” said one.
Few members tell us they are planning any changes to their investment plans as a result of the vote. But that may change once the full consequences of an EU exit become clearer, and while some members welcome the Referendum outcome, there is evidently a good deal of uncertainty about what lies ahead. It is an issue that will affect all publishers in some way, and we welcome all views on it via our survey.
Our Brexit survey closes at the end of Friday, 22 July. We ask for one response per publisher member only, and your responses will be kept confidential. You can find the link via our latest ebulletin. Thank you to all members who have contributed.