One of Turkey’s leading literary agents has written to international publishers and agents asking for understanding following the collapse of the Turkish lira and warning that offers for books may be lower as a result.
Nermin Mollaoglu at Istanbul’s Kalem Agency says that Turkey is trying desperately to stop a downfall that could trigger an economic crisis. A trader at the city’s Grand Bazaar told the New York Times that the Turiksh lira was behaving “like ice in hot weather”.
Mollaoglu’s letter to publishers and agents says: “The crisis affects all the sectors in Turkey and of course the publishing world cannot run away from it. As sub agents, we represent your titles and do our best to sell your books’ rights, to protect you and your authors’ benefits, but at the same time we have to stand with Turkish publishers. We have to maintain the balance and do our best to help publishers to escape with nothing but a few ‘scraps’.
“This is Turkey’s reality now and we would like you to consider offers from Turkey in the light of these facts. There might be delays and postponements on payments due to these reasons.”
She added that the situation was “scary and upsetting” and meant that if a previous payment to a publisher amounted to €1000, it might now be reduced to €700.
She continued: “Turkish publishers tend to buy fewer and fewer books, which is also scary, because the Turkish publishing market is 50% translation-dominated. It will be only Turkish books [available] if they cannot [afford to] buy [internationally]. Else the small and middle-sized publishers will stop and take a break; this is also scary for the sake of the market, it will be only the big publishers playing the game. The landscape is changing and it’s not healthy, that’s the thing.”
But she added that she had received some supportive notes from publishers and hoped that people would be understanding and flexible.