By Hannah Johnson
PP: You will become President of the International Publishers Association in January 2015. Are there specific issues that you are looking forward to addressing in this new role?
Richard Charkin: Continuing to support the excellent work done by IPA in ensuring protection of copyright, freedom of expression, and promotion of literacy and reading. The challenges for publishing in all sectors and in all regions have neither been more pressing nor more full of opportunity.
PP: When you became Vice President of the IPA in 2013, you said that the IPA needs authors to support publishers “if we are to continue to invest securely for the future.” How can we work toward that goal?
RC: Since then there have been a number of author initiatives in support of their and our industry. It is important that we never forget that our common interests are so much greater than our differences.
PP: As the publishing industry creates more digital content, protecting copyright becomes a bigger challenge. Should the publishing industry focus on building more secure systems for content delivery and consumption? Prosecuting copyright violators? Educating consumers on the importance of copyright protection? Or something else?
RC: I don’t know what is the best way to protect digital content from piracy, but I do know that we must, as an industry, be forward- and outward-looking and not be seen to be protectionist or Luddite.
PP: Publishers are under constant pressure to react faster to changing technology, consumer preferences, current events, and global trends. Does that mean we should publish books faster? Be more open to experimentation? Invest in new technology?
RC: Yes. Yes. Yes.
PP: At this year’s Rights Directors Meeting, you are speaking about “The Future of Rights in a Globalized World.” What impact do you think it will have on the business as more publishers look to market and sell their own books abroad?
RC: I think publishers marketing globally can only be a good thing. The more the better. Meanwhile the digital world opens up new opportunities for commerce in rights.