A new study on diversity in publishing has concluded that assumptions about audiences for fiction being white and middle-class still prevail, and this is the only audience big publishers are interested in. The report, Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing, is based on research among authors, agents and representatives from all of the major publishing houses, including CEOs and managing directors, editors, designers and marketing, PR and sales staff. Conducted through a partnership between Goldsmiths, University of London, Spread the Word and The Bookseller, the reseach found that Black, Asian and minority ethnic and working-class audiences are undervalued by publishers, economically and culturally, and this is influencing the acquisition, promotion and selling of writers of colour.
Dr Anamik Saha, Lead Researcher for the project, said: “Our study finds that publishers and booksellers do not have the resources, know-how, or sadly, the inclination to reach wider audiences. They do not see the economic or cultural benefit. Big publishers and booksellers need to radically reimagine their audience. The entire industry is essentially set up to cater for white, middle-class readers, in terms of the books it produces, the media it engages, even the look and feel of bookstores and the demographics they serve. This has to change.”