New Zealand Publishers’ Conference Features Al Qasimi, Evans, Brown

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu has a daylong conference, with trade show directors and Bodour Al Qasimi.

In Devonport, a suburb of Auckland, on June 18. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Brian Scantlebury

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

‘What Now? Publishing in a Disrupted World’
Set for a week from today (August 13) the PANZ International Conference is to convene on August 20 at Clifton’s on Queen Street in Auckland.

The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ) is doing what many of our conferences this season are trying to do–look ahead. As the association puts it, the goal is “exploring the way forward for a publishing industry that’s gone through significant upheaval over the past 18 months.” Much of world publishing’s focus in the first half of the year was necessarily a look over the business’ shoulder. Now, it’s time to get on with it.

Hence the program’s title, “What Now? Publishing in a Disrupted World.”

With the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic as the starting point, organizers say, topics then will focus on “how environmental issues are influencing publishing decision-making, and the potential impact of Amazon spreading its delivery wings into Aotearoa,” the Māori name for New Zealand.

Bodour Al Qasimi

Speakers include Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association (IPA), who recently was in Istanbul for her late-July talks with the Turkish Publishers Association, part of her tour of many key international markets during the IPA’s 125th-year anniversary observances.

One of Al Qasimi’s points of interest this summer is the coming “IPA Academy” program designed to help publishers in many parts of the IPA’s 71-country membership work on revitalized business models and building capacity.

Benedict Evans

Also speaking is Benedict Evans, longtime London-based commentator on technology and cultural developments.

As Evans has written about the effects of COVID-19, “Mostly it accelerates everything that was already changing.” And world publishing has seen this in many elements of the business, as well as in consumer response, as well, of course.

And Tim Brown, co-founder of New Zealand-born Allbirds shoes, is on the roster to speak, as well, speaking with Duncan Grieve.

Tim Brown

Brown is a former vice-captain of the New Zealand football team and worked with engineer Joey Zwillinger to create the sustainability-focused footwear, the company now being based in San Francisco and engaged in a partnership announced last year with Adidas.

Some of the company’s current models have uppers knitted from eucalyptus trees fiber and use a carbon-negative green EVA midsole. The original claim to fame for the company’s approach was in uppers knitted from wool.

Also on the Bill: Copyright and the Canadian Crisis

The program on the 20th opens with an international rights breakfast in which trade show directors will be heard, including Juergen Boos from Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 20 to 24 this year); Elena Pasoli from Bologna Children’s Book Fair (March 21 to 24, 2022); and Marisol Schulz from the Guadalajara International Book Fair (November 27 to December 5). That conversation is to be moderated by Oratia Media publisher Peter Dowling.

Claire Murdoch

Additional speakers include Claire Murdoch, head of publishing with Penguin Random House New Zealand; Ben Brown, who is the Te Awhi Rito New Zealand reading ambassador; Allen & Unwin chair Melanie Laville-Moore; and Graeme Cosslett, who is president of the New Zealand association.

Of particular interest will be the comments of Glenn Rollans, publisher at Brush Education and a former president of the Association of Canadian Publishers. Rollans is a specialist—albeit reluctantly—in “Copyright: The Canadian Experience,” as the program puts it. As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the latest shoe to drop in that long running struggle around the Copyright Modernization Act has been a distressing decision from the Canadian supreme court.

There’s ticketing information for the single-day conference here, and those who may attend will want to know that today (August 13) is the last day for the early-bird price of 275 New Zealand dollars (US$193). The price then moves to 325 New Zealand dollars (US$228).

The Coronavirus in New Zealand

As it happens, the timing of the conference in New Zealand is interesting. The country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern,  has said the market “won’t loosen its stringent border-control and quarantine procedures until next year as it doubles down on its zero-Covid-19 approach to the pandemic, with plans to consider for entry only vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries starting in early 2022,” as reported Thursday (August 12) by James Hookway at the Wall Street Journal.

With its faithful policy on closed borders to almost all international travelers since March 2020, the country has maintained a remarkably low rate of infection, illness, and death, The New York Times‘ database surfacing 2,905 cases and 26 deaths, per Natasha Frost’s writeup on Thursday.

Frost does point out that the country is lagging in its vaccination program, with only some 29 percent of adults having had at least one injection and just 17 percent having been fully vaccinated.

Below is a video produced from Bodour Al Qasimi’s meetings with the Turkish Publishers Association near the end of last month.

More from Publishing Perspectives on New Zealand is here, more from us on the International Publishers Association is here, and more on publishing conferences is here. Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the International Publishers Association.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

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 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.