Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown tells us about his hopes for Frankfurt 2022.
This is Curtis Brown’s first fair since the merger with UTA. Is it business as usual, or will there be some changes?
Absolutely business as usual. The whole point of our transaction was not to disrupt our work for our clients or our relationships with other agencies. So far so good.
After Covid lockdowns, has your thinking about the value of book fairs and about your approach to them changed?
Yes, like others I felt the loss of real face-to-face connections. We went back to the office earlier than most and the benefits of doing so have been tangible—co-operation, exchange of ideas, creativity, and more fun. I’ve always believed in fairs as we remind ourselves that stories are international and our authors deserve the biggest possible platform. Frankfurt and London give us that ability to create the opportunities for our clients.
The industry seems to have weathered the Covid crisis. But now we’re facing an economic crisis. How do you think we’ll cope this time?
They say publishing is recession proof, but we must never take this for granted. Rising print prices and difficulties in distribution will mean higher cover prices, all at exactly the wrong time as the cost of living goes up. We must be mindful that every book needs to be positioned in a way that it is not considered a luxury item or unnecessary part of your weekly shop. Books need to be desired, well produced, attractive, and urgent. If we fail to make this case, I suspect the book trade will suffer over the coming year.
Executive Talk: Jonny Geller on Books-to-Screen Development will be at the Publishing Perspectives Forum (Congress Center L2) at 1p.m. today.