IPA’s 33rd International Publishers Congress: Previewing Day One

In News by Porter Anderson

The first IPA International Publishers Congress since 2018 will look at issues confronting the world book publishing industry.

At Jakarta’s Fashion Week, July 21. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Herwin Bahar

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

A UNESCO City of Literature
Delayed during earlier stages of the still ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the International Publishers Association‘s (IPA) 33rd edition of its biennial International Publishers Congress will be seated on November 10 and 11 in Jakarta, named UNESCO’s first City of Literature in Southeast Asia.

In practical terms, Jakarta is still a relatively new publishing hub, its first publishing house, Balai Pustaka, having been established in 1917. The Indonesian Publishers Association’s development would follow in 1950, and in November, the Indonesian capital will become the world center of professional publishing as delegates from many of the International Publishers Association’s 89 member-organizations set in 73 nations of Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Americas.

In 2020, the city of Jakarta was reported to have contributed 25 percent of Indonesia’s literary output, registering 14,906, making the capital city the primary concentration of book publishing for the far-flung archipelago nation.

Quickly, for those who would like to make a booking to join us at the world congress in Jakarta, you’ll find the information you need here, and registration (reportedly quite robust so far) is expected to close at the end of this month, you’ll want to move fast. Registration for the congress opened in June and is free of charge. Travelers will of course be offered accommodation packages. The congress is set at the Fairmont Hotel and its conference center.

An umbrella theme, “Reading Matters,” has been chosen by organizers and secretary general José Borghino for the congress, who have worked for the better part of this year to prepare the program.

Laura Prinsloo

Day One: November 10

Many of our readers are familiar with Laura Prinsloo, of course, chair of the Jakarta Book City Committee, and it’s Prinsloo who will open the event on November 10 in brief comments.

She’ll be followed by welcoming comments from Arys Hilman, president of Ikapi, the Indonesian Publishers Association. Having been created 10 years after Indonesia’s proclamation of independence, Ikapi traces its creation to three key figures in the country’s literary life, Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, M. Jusuf Ahmad, and A. Notosoetardjo.

By 1995, Ikapi held its first National Literacy Congress, and the organization was one of several strategic partners in Indonesia’s appearance as Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s guest of honor market in 2015.

Bodour Al Qasimi

Bodour Al Qasimi, the seemingly indefatigable outgoing president of the International Publishers Association–whose two-year term will be remembered for an astonishing number of new programs, outreach efforts, travel to meet with publishers in many markets, and philanthropic initiatives such as the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund–will then welcome delegates, as will Heru Budi Harono, the acting governor of Jakarta.

Al Qasimi is succeeded in the presidential role by Brazil’s Karine Pansa, who also will be featured in the congress program, as will be vice-president-elect Gvantsa Jobava.

Daren Tang

Daren Tang, director general of the  World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva (WIPO) is expected to give an opening-day keynote address, which will immediately be followed by a panel discussion on “Liberty or Surveillance: How Technology Affects the Freedom to Publish.”

Of particular interest here is the vexing issue of how the various social media can seem to provide communications access to many for what should be a democratic effect, but also can be used to suppress truth and to distribute targeted disinformation at international scale.

Trasvin Jittidecharak

The presentation of this panel at the top of the program reaffirms the priority that the IPA has placed on the freedom to publish–the world book business essential context for freedom of expression.

  • Moderator: Trasvin Jittidecharak, Thailand
  • Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the IPA Freedom to Publish committee and WEXFO managing director, Norway
  • Hilmar Farid, president commissioner of Balai Pustaka State Publishing House and director general of culture in Indonesia
  • Azadeh Parsapour, managing editor of Nogaam Publishing and a past nominee for the Prix Voltaire, Iran and the United Kingdom

Jessica Sänger

Another of the main “pillars” of the international association’s work is copyright and its protection. A session titled “Copyright, Artificial Intelligence, and Publishing” will look at the impact of artificial intelligence on piracy, the potentials for “enhanced enforcement” of copyright law, and explore what may be real and useful connections between developing AI frameworks and the indispensable value of copyright in the book business.

  • Moderator: Candra Darusman, Indonesia
  • R. Rizky Abdurachman Adiwilaga, IP attorney and lecturer, Indonesia
  • Jessica Sänger, international affairs director, German Publishers and Booksellers Association, Germany, and IPA copyright committee chair
  • Woo-kun Hur, Visang Education, South Korea

Elena Pasoli

In “Books for Children: Future-Proofing Tomorrow’s Readers,” panelists will look at how publishers are operating in terms not only of economic realities but also in questions of content issues and competing interests.

  • Moderator: Karine Pansa, IPA vice-president, Brazil
  • Ani Rosa Almario, Adarna House, the Philippines
  • Elena Pasoli, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy
  • Joachim Kaufmann, Carlsen Verlag/Bonnier, Germany

Benedicte Page

“Marketing and Distribution: Exploring New Worlds” will look at the sale of ebooks, audiobooks, digital retail, and print-on-demand.

  • Moderator: Benedicte Page, The Bookseller, UK
  • Adi Ekatama, Gramedia, Indonesia
  • Pedro Sobral, Grupo Leya, Portugal
  • Randy Anthony, Republik Media Kreatif, Indonesia

Richard Charkin

“A Faustian Bargain: New Technologies and the Future of the Creative Industries” is a panel that asks what the cost of digitally driven availability in retail might be, especially in platform distribution provided by companies including Amazon and its Kindle ecosystem, Spotify, and similar offerings. How do accessibility and quality co-exist?

  • Moderator: M. Taufiqurrahman, Jakarta Post, Indonesia
  • Ricky J. Pesik, president commissioner, Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation
  • Jesús Badenes del Rio, Planeta Group, Spain
  • Richard Charkin, publisher, Mensch Publishing, UK

Michiel Kolman

And a concluding first-day panel, “The Path Toward Net Zero,” asks “Are We Ready for an Inclusive, Sustainable, and Resilient Publishing Industry?” In this case, the climate crisis is center-stage, and best practices in sustainability will be examined.

  • Moderator: Michiel Kolman, senior vice-president at Elsevier and chair of IPA’s Inclusive Publishing and Literacy committee, the Netherlands
  • Zakri Abdul Hamid, agricultural scientist, Malaysia
  • Kathy Bail, New South Publishing/UNSW Press, Australia
  • Andhyta Firselly Utami, environmental economist, World Bank Jakarta office, Indonesia

More from Publishing Perspectives on the International Publishers Association is here, more from us on the IPA’s world congresses is here, more from us on Indonesia is here, more on Asian book and publishing markets is here, and more on reading is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the global media partner of the International Publishers Association.

More from us on the still-ongoing 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.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.