IPA Announces a Digital ‘Inspire’ Symposium on Coordinated Action

In News by Porter Anderson

The International Publishers Association’s ‘Inspire’ program presents findings from its series of publishing industry workshops.

On the River Main in Frankfurt. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Meinzahn

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

A Unified ‘Roadmap’ for Book Publishing’s Future
Set for Thursday (February 17), the International Publishers Association‘s (IPA) online symposium being announced today (February 14) is intended to “lay down a roadmap for book publishing’s resilient future.”

Starting at 1 p.m. CET / noon GMT / 7 a.m. ET, the program is to open with specially recorded messages from UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) head Daren Tang. Registration for the event is available here.

The symposium then is to present findings from workshops that have engaged publishing houses, distributors, authors, educators, and book fairs, as well as personnel involved in literacy and free-expression advocacy in a coordinated exercise designed to focus all-industry attention on the book business’ challenges, well-being, and promotion.

The “Inspire Charter” was introduced in September of last year, with a broad base of publishers’ associations, book fairs, and other organizations already in place as signatories. The use of the word inspire is acronymic for International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience (PDF). Work was done on the new plan during Frankfurter Buchmesse, a signatory to the original charter.

In signing on to the charter, the stakeholders have endorsed a 10-point outline of interests, comprising:

  • Asserting the value of publishing
  • Advocating publishing-specific government stimulus programs
  • Fostering dialogue between publishing ecosystem stakeholders
  • Demonstrating the damaging effects of piracy
  • Identifying common ground between publishing stakeholders
  • Closing emerging workforce skill gaps
  • Exploring partnerships and programs that emphasize the role of publishing
  • Empowering under-represented voices
  • Supporting indigenous language publishing
  • Highlighting the role of small- and medium-sized independent publishers and booksellers

A “roadmap toward a more collaborative, cohesive, and powerful publishing sector” was anticipated for this month, and the effort now is on track for that timing.

Al Qasimi: ‘To Challenge Siloed Thinking’

The program turns on five areas of priority focus, all familiar to those who follow the work of the IPA:

  • Copyright
  • Freedom to publish
  • Sustainability
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Technology and innovation

Workshops held to provide input for Thursday’s “roadmap” session, the organization reports, “workshops were a unique discussion platform for a cross-section of professionals from the wider publishing space to bring their perspectives, experiences, and ideas.”

A discussion planned to close Thursday’s symposium is to feature IPA secretary-general José Borghino; John Degen, executive director of the Writers’ Union of Canada and chair of the International Authors Forum; Andre Breedt, managing director of Nielsen Book; and Jean-Luc Treutenaere, co-president of the European and International Booksellers Federation.

Bodour Al Qasimi

In a prepared comment for today’s announcement of the coming seminar on Thursday, IPA president Bodour Al Qasimi is quoted, saying, “I’m extremely proud of the International Publishers Association’s stewardship in convening such a distinguished group of stakeholders to co-develop a more sustainable resilient global publishing industry.

“This is one of the first times I can remember that the industry has been able to establish a global, multi-stakeholder discussion on the future of publishing.

“Despite sometimes opposing industry interests, the International Publishers Association stepped up at one of the most critical times for our industry to set aside differences and challenge siloed thinking. We need to build on this solidarity to future-proof publishing.”

The development of the Inspire program has been overseen by a group of 11 members of the IPA executive committee.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the International Publishers Association is here and more on its Inspire project 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 is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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 (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.