By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Al Qasimi: ‘Workforce Skill Development’As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the International Publishers Association (IPA) has been working on the development of an “IPA Academy” program designed to assist world publishers in gaining commercial and technical skills needed to cope with the “digital acceleration” of the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s well understood that elements of the book business that seem to have best weathered some of the biggest challenges of the era—especially in e-commerce and digital publishing—have been among the most successful. In other cases in which a quick flight to digital alternatives couldn’t be managed, publishers, their associated businesses, and readers felt the impact of lockdowns and other virus spread-mitigation efforts much more severely.
Today (March 2), the association’s offices in Geneva have announced that Sharjah Book Authority, at Sharjah Publishing City under the direction of Ahmed Al Ameri, is opening the Academy’s program with a series of “IPA Talks” and in-depth courses being put programmed with three high-profile partners. More detailed information is coming shortly.
A part of what has guided the development of the IPA Academy program has been the extensive travels made by IPA president Bodour Al Qasimi. Her meetings with publishers in many of the IPA’s 86 member-associations have been, in part, fact-finding missions, all contributing to an understanding of the instruction and guidance most needed in various markets of world publishing.
In making today’s announcement, IPA president Bodour Al Qasimi says, “Over the last 2 years, I’ve spoken with more than 150 senior publishing industry executives from across the industry value chain—including publishing houses, distributors, authors, educators, book fairs, and literacy and free-expression advocates—in more than 40 countries.
“A common theme that has featured strongly in these discussions is the need for workforce skill development to adapt to pandemic-driven digital acceleration.
“The IPA Academy is a response to this need and would be a great benefit for IPA members and the publishers they represent, and I can’t wait for them to start using it.”
The new program will be available to IPA’s member-organizations and to the publishers they represent in 71 nations.
Al Ameri—soon headed to Italy for the Book Authority’s Guest of Honor Sharjah program at Bologna Children’s Book Fair (April 21 to 24)—says, “The IPA Academy is a gamechanger for the global book industry.
“As an entity dedicated to promoting knowledge and learning and boosting growth and opportunities for publishers, Sharjah Book Authority is honored to partner with IPA in helping co-create forward-looking solutions to the challenges facing the publishing industry.
“The authority’s support, in line with the emirate’s commitment to nurture the book industry under Sharjah’s cultural project, also affirms the need for collective action with relevant industry stakeholders to build up resilience and advance the publishing industry to the next phase of growth.”
Al Ameri, in fact, briefed a delegation of New York state senators at the Book Authority’s headquarters on Sharjah Publishing City and its book fairs—a look at the development by Sheikh Sultan of the UAE’s third emirate as a reading culture.
The coming programming from the IPA Academy is intended to bring international publishers into a context in which they can be “comfortable and confident in the digital space,” according to media messaging this morning, “from creating digital books to e-commerce, integrating accessibility into workflows, and social-media marketing.”
We’ll have more on the new IPA Academy program as it opens.
More from Publishing Perspectives on the International Publishers Association is here. More on the work of Bodour Al Qasimi is here, more on the work of Ahmed Al Ameri is here, more on Sharjah’s projects is here, and more on digital publishing 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.