Questions for: Richard Charkin

News - Interviews Wednesday, 2nd June 2021

Describe your current job
Commissioning, editing, proof-reading, marketing, selling, website updating, contracts, accounting, rights, advising, mentoring and now the sentence is too long.
What was your first job in the book industry?
Science editor, George G. Harrap.
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Paul Hamlyn.
How has the industry changed since your first job?
Blimey. Where to start and where to stop. The biggest and best and most important change has been the rise of women publishers at the most senior levels in the industry.
What was your biggest challenge as President of IPA (which is celebrating its 125th anniversary right now)?
The lack of cultural intelligence among some of its membership.

What are your hopes for the future of IPA?
That it can represent all the publishing economies of the world irrespective of wealth, language, or politics.
What’s the best piece of book-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t worry about your career. Do your job well and the career will follow.
What are the most interesting things you’re seeing at the moment in the industry?
Multiple-format publishing and communication.
What do you think might be the next big thing?
If I knew I wouldn’t say.
How are you coping with working from a home environment?
Loving the freedom but missing my friends and the gossip.
How do you think the industry will come out of the Covid-19 crisis?
Well. The durability of the book industry has been highlighted by the problems besetting society. I fear for the future of traditional bricks and mortar bookshops unless they develop better customer service and unique offerings.
What do you most like doing when you’re not working?
Walking with BBC Sounds in my earphones playing old BBC plays and audiobooks.

What is the best book you’ve read in the last year?
Foot Notes by Guy Kennaway and Hussein Sharif.
What are you reading now?
A manuscript entitled You Matter by an author I cannot name for the time being.
How do you like to read: on screen, on paper, or do you listen to audiobooks?
All three.

Richard Charkin will co-chair Forging Forward: The pandemic- An Interruption, or An Opportunity to Rethink at BolognaBookPlus on 14 June 2021. For more details about the event, visit: