A New, High View of the Road Ahead: IPA’s ‘State of Publishing’ Reports

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Research originally prepared for the COVID-canceled International Publishers Congress will be introduced in a session on October 15 during Frankfurt’s special edition.

Near El Chaltén on the Argentinian-Chilean border in Patagonia. Image – iStockphoto: Marcel Strelow

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See our complete guide to Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 here. It has our latest stories, event highlights, our free digital magazine, and more.

A Suite of High-Level Views
One of the many publishing events canceled in the springtime onset of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic was the International Publishers Association’s (IPA) International Publishers Congress, which had been scheduled for May in Lillehammer, Norway.

While that congress now has be re-cast for late 2022 in Jakarta, the canceled congress in Norway wasn’t without its benefits.

On Frankfurt Thursday—October 15 during Frankfurter Buchmesse—the IPA team will introduce a series of a “State of Publishing” reports, covering a range of areas interest to the publishing industry including international perspectives on the freedom to publish, copyright, publishing’s contribution to achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals, reading habits, international book policies, educational publishing and digital licensing.

This is a portfolio of specially commissioned and created research initiated originally for the planned Lillehammer congress.

The rollout of these study results is likely to be a key draw at the digital Frankfurt, and registration for this special session is available here. The session is set for 11 a.m. CEST / 0900 GMT / 10 a.m. BST / 5 a.m. ET.

At a glance, the seven reports—the first six of which were exclusively commissioned for the Lillehammer event—are:

    1. Publishers and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,
    2. Freedom to Publish: Challenges, Violations, and Countries of Concern
    3. Ambitious Literary Policies: International Perspectives
    4. ‘Reading Matters’: Surveys and Campaigns–How To Keep and Recover Readers
    5. IPA Global Report on Copyright and Publishing
    6. Paper and Digital: Current Research into the Effectiveness of Learning Materials
    7. Licensing Practices in a Global Digital Market

In a prepared statement, the IPA president Hugo Setzer is quoted, saying, “It really is a testament to the work of the Norwegian Publishers Associations to have commissioned and developed these extremely valuable reports. We’re looking forward to presenting them to our members and building on these strong foundations for future work.”

Kristenn Einarsson, who leads the Norwegian Publishers Association (as well as the IPA Freedom to Publish committee), says, “We are delighted to be publishing the ‘State of Publishing’ reports in Frankfurt. There’s such a wealth of information in these reports that publishers and publishers’ associations around the world can use in their work and in their interactions with local governments.”

Information on the New Reports

Report 1: Publishers and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

This report looks at all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and what publishers around the world are doing in terms of what they publish and how they operate as businesses. While publishers might be expected to be focused on SDG4, which is based in education, the report actually show that publishers are trying to tackle many of the goals.

There are best practices and some inspirational examples from many publishers.

With the UN hoping to achieve the goals by 2030, this report can act as a baseline for publishers to use in the coming decade of action toward the goal year of 2030.

Report 2: Freedom to Publish: Challenges, Violations, Countries of Concern

A graphic on censorship from the IPA Freedom
To Publish report. Image source: Freemuse, The State of Artistic Freedom 2020

This report takes stock of reports from around the world to focus on individual cases, and also to build a picture of the main violations against the freedom to publish, the main challenges publishers face, and which countries are of particular concern.

Report 3: Ambitious Literary Policies: International Perspectives

This report is a call-to-arms for active literary politics and serves as an introduction to cultural policy measures that shape literature and publishing industries in various states and regions around the world. It argues that literary policies should be understood as part of a complex and flexible field of politics that can be identified at national, regional, and international levels of governance, across several policy areas. Literary policies are based on the premise that the book and other forms of written expressions are not just commodities but have a special value to society.

Report 4: ‘Reading Matters’: How To Keep and Recover Readers

Image: IPA ‘Reading Matters’ report

“Reading Matters” was the original slogan for the International Publishers Congress. This report gathers together the results of multiple surveys from many parts of the world that look at reading habits as well as initiatives to encourage people to read more.

This analysis of surveys looks at the different methodologies but tries to bring the results together to create a clear picture of which groups in society are reading more or reading less. More than just a snapshot, the report builds on this analysis and best practices to look to the future.

Report 5: IPA Global Report on Copyright & Publishing

This report is the ultimate reference document for copyright laws that impact publishers. It analyses the copyright laws in the 69 countries in which IPA has members and highlights the elements most relevant to publishers’ activities including exceptions and limitation; enforcement regimes; and notice and take-down provisions. The legal analysis is complemented by on-the-ground insights from IPA members in a number of countries.

Report 6: Paper and Digital: Current Research into the Effectiveness of Learning Materials

This report brings together the work of multiple researchers looking at how pupils and students learn.

It considers whether the format of the learning resources has an impact on educational outcomes.

It also looks at a practical recent example of the implementation of a new curriculum in Norway and how publishers prepared to provide a blend of physical and digital resources.

Report 7: Licensing Practices in a Global Digital Market

This report presents a comprehensive overview of how licensing actually works in different publishing sectors and regions.

It includes chapters from international experts in K-12 education and STM publishing, as well as input from regional experts in Africa and Asia and perspectives from authors and reproduction rights organizations, typically referred to as RROs.

And a couple of attribution notes: Two reports–IPA Global Report on Copyright and Publishing, and Licensing Practices in a Global Digital Market–were prepared with financial support from Norwegian RRO, Kopinor. Most of the reports were authored by Åsfrid Hegdal at the Norwegian Publishers Association, with the exception of the Ambitious Literary

Policies report from Norwegian academics Helge Rønning and Tore Slaatta–also authors of The Tools of Literary Politics (Scandinavian Academic Press, 2019). The copyright and licensing reports are attributed to the IPA and multiple contributors.

Our listing of other events hosted by the IPA in partnership with Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more from us on the International Publishers Association is here, and more on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.