18 Mar Coronavirus Pandemic: An Update from 2 Seas Agency
BY MARLEEN SEEGERS — ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON MARCH 18 2020
I wanted to give you an update given the rapidly moving developments regarding the Coronavirus pandemic.
As I mentioned in another article, I cut my European trip earlier this month short and returned to California after having finished one week of meetings in Amsterdam.
Sr Agent Chrys and I were supposed to attend the London Book Fair the following week (March 10-12), and I was then to continue my 5-week European tour with visits to Paris and Milan. When the London and Paris Book Fairs were cancelled quickly one after another, I decided not to try my luck and to fly back to the US. This turned out to be a very wise decision, as the US banned all flights from Europe a few days later.
While these trips and person-to-person meetings at trade events are of great importance to our job as foreign rights sellers, we are doing our utmost best to continue to represent our clients’ catalogues internationally.
In an effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our business, we’ve been conducting phone, Whatsapp and Skype calls to replace as many of our personal meetings as possible. If calls weren’t a possibility, we’ve managed to communicate efficiently by email.
The structure of the agency is already virtual, so working from home doesn’t represent a new challenge to us. However, staff at publishing houses and other publishing-related organizations around the world are currently migrating from their offices to work from home. Trying to manage the new technology that comes along with this unprecedented situation is proving to be very challenging in itself. As a result, there may be delays in contracts (we are now more than ever insisting that everyone agrees to use our Docusign account), general communications, complimentary copies, royalty statements, and tax forms, especially when some of the worst affected countries are involved.
At the same time, we are seeing the first positive signs from Asia, the region that was affected first by the Coronavirus pandemic, with offers and payments slowly resuming.
With an increasing number of book and publishing events called off, bookstores closing and laying off staff, this pandemic already has a major impact on the (publishing) world. It is heart-warming to see the many initiatives from publishers and other cultural organizations to get us all through this. To name but a few:
- The “Boekenweek”, the annual 10-day event in the Netherlands for the promotion of the book is extended till the end of March
- Our client Allary Editions is offering -50% off for the purchase of their e-books
- The American Booksellers Association donates $100K to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation
- Publishers Weekly is now accessible for free
- The Dutch hashtag #ikleesthuis (#ireadathome) was started by the CPNB (“Collective Promotion for the Dutch book”)
May you and your dear ones stay safe and healthy.
All best wishes,
Marleen on behalf of the 2 Seas team