With the upcoming London Book Fair at the Olympia London from Tuesday March 12th, 2024 – Thursday March 14th, 2024, the buzz between U.S. and U.K. relations is ever-growing. In the past, the U.S. and U.K. markets have worked in parallel, as many of the publishers were unsure of how American and British audiences may overlap.  With the wild Bloomsbury success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that was sold to Scholastic for the U.S. market, along with children’s titles such as Diary of a Wimpy Kidsucceeding largely in the U.K., it is clear the markets have immense crossover potential. Publishers have long recognized this, as they continue to strengthen their relationships across the pond.

Even in the bookseller realm, both the U.S. and U.K. have equally strong competition that have mutually benefited one another. The CEO of Barnes and Noble, James Daunt, also runs the U.K. equivalent, Waterstones. As an Englishman himself, he is able to effectively implement the strategies of the U.S. and U.K chains. Independent bookstores in the U.K. have also gained immense benefits from the U.S. independent bookstore strategies. Due to the U.S.’s refined, more assertive buy-local approach, the U.K was able to boost independent bookstore sales.

Book rights are another major amplification of the relationship between U.S. and U.K. relations, specifically within multinational publishers. Most agents will attempt to split up territorial rights, but many publishers have found the U.S. and U.K. markets to benefit immensely from sharing the wealth. For instance, at Simon and Schuster, both the U.K. and U.S. branches can combine financial resources to bid on the same title, making it an auction leverage for titles both parties are thrilled about.

Independent publishers are venturing across the Atlantic, as well. Barbican Press, a UK-founded press, began its publication in 2009. With a focus outside of commercial success toward more contemporary, transgressive fiction, the publisher decided to take an enormous leap and expand to Los Angeles. Their trans-Atlantic approach gives the press a sense of hope and aspiration with acquisitions expanding to Canada, U.S., Sweden, Norway, and the Czech Republic. With the expansion to the U.S., the press has struggled to gain similar traction to that of the U.K. However, there are advantageous tools that have helped the press soar. The press states in Publisher’s Weekly, “We decided Ingram Publishing Services was in fact a friendly dragon and let ourselves be swallowed by it.”

Networking and collaboration between the U.S. and U.K are vital organisms in the Publishing ecosystem. David Shelley, CEO of Hachette Book Group, explains, “Successful transatlantic publishing partnerships always depend on shared editorial passion, publishing vision, and close connection.” Many Publishing professionals still believe in the need for in-person relations, exploring each other’s successes, and making the most of the shared market.