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DHA MD Lizzy Kremer on 90 years of DHA

DHA’s Managing Director, Lizzy Kremer is featured on the cover of the latest issue of The Bookseller, to mark DHA’s recent rebrand and the agency’s upcoming 90th birthday. Lizzy celebrated the achievements of DHA clients and agents and discussed the future of the business. Lizzy was also asked about her views on some of the significant recent developments in the publishing industry, including the launch of audiobooks on Spotify and the use of AI in publishing.

On Spotify, Lizzy reaffirmed DHA’s approach of “see[ing] ourselves as allies with publishers in their success” and in encouraging competitive markets, but stressed the need to look closely at data to assess the impact of Spotify on other format sales. In particular, Lizzy emphasised her concerns about the loss of the connection between the desire to read and the act of purchase because the business is economically dependent on book sales not on ‘pages read’. As such, while she was “in favour of the strategic use of platforms”, she believes that “when the platform becomes king, that is usually to the disadvantage of the creator.” This has fed into DHA’s current author-centred response to the Spotify deals made by publishers.

Lizzy also set out her views about the impact of AI on the publishing industry, affirming unequivocally that “protecting copyright and protecting creators” is “absolutely fundamental to our livelihoods.” As such, while publishers were in theory free to adapt their systems to use AI in their services if they wished, DHA remains “guarded” and concerned by any software that uses or has used authors’ work to create competitive works or to replace the work of human creators.

This is in line with Lizzy’s assertion throughout her interview that what lies at the absolute core at DHA is ”unseen advocacy”, and “our absolute responsibility to protect [our authors]”, no matter how big or small their deals. Recognising that writers are not just creators but “business partners”, Lizzy also maintained that “not to be numerate and be able to interrogate the business of publishing seems … derelict.”

As for the future of the business, Lizzy expressed her immense pride in all of her DHA colleagues and the “incredible systems” and efficiency that the agency maintains, which collectively contribute to sustaining the agency’s stability and success. “Whenever I go to …a publishing party,” Lizzy says, “I just end up talking about all my colleagues and how… proud I am of everything they do.”

Read Lizzy’s full interview here.