An espresso with Nathan Hull

Nathan Hull

For our seventh Espresso with…, we are delighted to have interviewed Nathan Hull, Chief Strategy Officer, Beat Technology. Nathan has curated the new Audio Forum at BolognaBookPlus in April 2024.

Take a look at the questions he chose to answer and his interesting replies.

What are you reading at the minute?

Reading Cosi Fan Tutti’s memoir Art, Sex, Music and listening to Island Of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak..


What is the best thing about going to international book fairs?

Seeing cultures collide and collaborate, and sharing that moment with thousands of people - all with the shared love of reading. It is pretty special.


What was your first job in the book world? 

I was very fortunate and was poached into the industry from outside. I stepped straight into Penguin in London as a digital publisher. And it was right on that exciting cusp of digital about to book with the advent of the kindle, apps and enhanced digital features on ebooks.


Is your reading preference for physical books, audio, ebooks, and why?

Physical always wins for me for the cliched look, smell and feel. But for complete ease and portability I always have one or two audiobooks on the go as well.


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation would cover a whole gamut of opportunities wouldn’t it? 


Have you met famous authors in person, and if so, describe the experience?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a fair few. I had the pleasure of working very closely with Stephen Fry who was always supportive and challenging of my hare-brained ideas in equal measure. Although, Stephen correcting my grammar on a script I’d prepared for him was a lesson I’ve never forgotten. All with a smile and a laugh, but a hint of “you should have known better Nathan.”


What do you consider to be publishing’s greatest threat at the minute, and why?

Inertia. In the modern world competing for our attention, publishing cannot afford to always stay in its zone of comfort. Formats need experimentation, platforms, access to books and the business modelling around them are all vital for growth and being relevant.


What has been your favourite book in translation, and who was the translator?

Bandi’s The Accusation (Serpent’s Tail), translated from Korean into English by Deborah Smith was a fascinating read. But I want to give a shout out to the awesome German business title Von Quotenfrauen und alten weißen Männern (Campus Verlag) by Annahita Esmailzadeh  which for some reason isn’t yet translated into English. It tackles some real fundamental, modern-day international issues facing working culture. I can’t believe it hasn’t been picked up yet.