What are you reading at the minute?
I’ve got about three books on the go at the moment. A Linwood Barclay novel as thrillers are my favourite, plus he’s one of my favourite authors. Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Nanh, as I’m a spiritual little soul, and I’m also re-reading some older SRL titles (not a self-plug) – it’s so refreshing reading them again years after spending so much time on them, and reminding myself why we chose to publish them in the first place.
What is the best thing about going to international book fairs?
I shouldn’t really say this but it’s not really about the business. I just love meeting people from around the world. Getting to know their culture, their values, what they believe in, what their personality is like. This is why I’m not a major fan of certain book fairs which are too ‘business and corporate’. I’m not like that at all – I’ve always been someone to build up a rapport with people, get to know them, build the respect and trust rather than cramming in meetings every 30 minutes and saying ‘next’ when the time is up. Nah – I’m not about that.
Is your reading preference for physical books, audio, ebooks, and why?
For me, print is king and will always be. I can’t get into audio as I then get distracted so goodness knows how people listen to them when they’re out and about, and I’m not a massive fan of eBooks, even more so when you consider I spend most of my day in front of a screen. I do see how both have their uses and can understand their popularity, but for me nothing beats having an actual book in your hands. Plus, I do love getting to nosey whenever someone posts a picture of their bookshelf online.
What is your favourite film based on a book?
It’s actually my favourite film full stop, and no other film comes close. It was originally a poem written by the incredible Tim Burton back in the 80s. The Nightmare Before Christmas has everything. The story, the characters, the production, the music. It’s a masterpiece.
What would be your favourite holiday destination?
Somewhere I haven’t been before – I’ve been lucky enough to have been to many incredible places over the years and I’m just grateful for any opportunity I can get to get away, so anywhere really. Although I do wish to travel back to Iceland at some point and explore South America
What do you consider to be publishing’s greatest threat at the minute, and why?
I genuinely don’t really know, there’s quite a few! I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest threat, but I know a lot would possibly say artificial intelligence (AI), some might say self-publishing, others will speak from a more sustainable view, but I wouldn’t call any of these a threat. I’d say they are opportunities. But given the publishing industry is possibly one of the oldest industries in the world, I think it’ll be resilient enough to overcome any potential threat now or in the future and use these as opportunities to finally evolve and enter the 21st Century. Unless we’re talking asteroids, then we’re doomed.
Stuart Debar is Managing Director of the world’s first Climate Positive publisher, SRL Publishing LTD. He has been named one of the UK’s top ESG Pioneers.