The editor of the London-based book trade BookBrunch, Neill Denny, offers his take on the implications of the historic vote that just wrapped in the U.K.
In the small hours of yesterday morning London was rocked by a fearsome electrical storm. Talk about portents from the heavens.
But the storm we now find ourselves engulfed in is entirely of our own making. In the space of a few hours we have voted to leave Europe, the pound has sunk like a stone, the stock market has tanked and the Prime Minister resigned.
Caught in this maelstrom the book trade is a reasonably calm backwater. There are implications for us, but they are slower, smoother and some even are positive.
On the debit side, we have made a decisive break with Europe and all its culture. However we dress it up, the English (and it is largely the English) have rejected our European neighbours and what they stand for. We may protest it wasn't us personally, but the nation has spoken. We have seen nothing like it since Henry VIII's break from Rome. One can hardly expect European partners, be they colleagues, authors, agents or sister publishers to be immune from feelings of dismay and hurt at what our nation has done.
The impact on the economy is, in the short-run, going to be entirely negative. This is a result that will cost jobs in the book trade as it will in the wider economy. The destabilising effect of the decision will hit consumer confidence and spending, and may immediately trigger a recession. None of this will lead to people buying more books. Years of uncertainty will follow. Yes, tariffs on imports may fall, but it will be a long time before the economy is back on track
The referendum campaign itself has dominated the public discourse for months, giving books and authors less room to cut through, and if anything that is only going to get worse. The exit negotiations themselves will dominate the headlines for months, as will the matter of who the next PM (and Chancellor?) will be plus a possible early election: there is no prospect of a respite.
I have written about the other negative impacts before, when I predicted Brexit a fortnight ago.
Editor's Note: A version of this story originally appeared in BookBrunch.