Vagabond Voices: Scottish publisher blames rising costs and falling EU sales on Brexit

A SCOTTISH publisher has taken aim at Brexit after seeing his business hit by skyrocketing costs and falling sales.

Allan Cameron, pictured, has run Vagabond Voices, based in Glasgow since 2008, which mainly focuses on translating European novels into English. The 69-year-old translator and author decided to start the business to initially publish his own books, including The Berlusconi Bonus and The Golden Menagerie, both published by Luath Press.

Cameron, who specializes in Italian translations, told the Sunday National that Brexit has seen delivery times double in cases as his printing costs have risen – both issues he pinpoints on leaving the Kingdom United of European Union.

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He said: “As a business I think we’ve been hit pretty hard.

“Brexit has inevitably increased costs and the pound has also fallen, which means that printing costs in Poland have increased.

“Brexit now means we have customs clearance costs that obviously didn’t exist before.”

While Boris Johnson’s rising Brexit costs will see the costs passed on to the consumer or absorbed by his profit-margin small business, he said it was also about reliability and stability.

“It’s not just a financial issue,” he said. “It’s also a logistical problem.

“Before Brexit, you could reliably get your books in two or three weeks.

“Now, I mean, I had a situation where I think it took me about six weeks for the pounds to show up.”

Cameron said rising delivery costs were one of his company’s biggest problems.

He said he expects those prices to continue to rise.

As well as a “substantial” increase in costs, it is also seeing sales fall in the EU – a key market for a Scottish publisher translating various books from European languages ​​into English.

Cameron says it’s increasingly common for European bookstores to offer an English section.

Despite the impact he said Brexit had on his business, the government offered him “absolutely no support”. Cameron joins a chorus of Scottish businesses who have called for action after suffering rising costs and delivery delays associated with Brexit-induced bureaucracy.

The Sunday National spoke to several Scottish businesses who all report increased bureaucracy, long waits for deliveries and uncertainty over their future.

A lighting firm told the newspaper that while it used to take days to deliver parts to its business, post-Brexit, it now takes weeks.

Meanwhile, a business in the Highlands told the Sunday National that after leaving the EU their business was being charged hundreds of extra pounds every month because it was considered ‘out of the continent’.

Embroiled in the impact of Covid, Cameron fears the effects of increasing customs issues, rising costs and falling sales on his business.

He said: “The fact is that Brexit doesn’t just reduce sales.

“Primarily what it does is drive up costs, and therefore squeeze margins, which are always very tight in the book industry anyway, so a small move could take away any profit on some sales.”

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Cameron said he hoped to see Scotland back into the single market and customs union for his business, but hoped for a full-scale return one day.

He said Brexit was one of the main issues that led him to support Scottish independence, adding that his ties to Europe went beyond economic ties.

Speaking to Italy’s Sunday National, he said: “For me, Brexit was not just a business issue, but also an emotional one. It cut me off from something that was very important to me. It was to be a European citizen.

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