34th International Publishers Congress Sales Open

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At the Guadalajara Book Fair, CANIEM reports on Mexico’s book market prior to IPA opening ticket sales for its 2024 congress.

Inside the largest of several theater spaces at the at Guadalajara’s Conjunto Santander de Artes Escénicas, site of the 2024 IPA International Publishers Congress. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

Enrique Krauze To Deliver Opening Keynote
In Geneva, the International Publishers Association (IPA) has opened ticket sales for the December 3 to 6 International Publishers Congress in Guadalajara. The Mexican historian and author Enrique Krauze has been announced as the program’s first keynote speaker, with more details of programming to come.

Produced by the Cámara Nacional de la Industria Editorial Mexicana (CANIEM) and the Association of American Publishers, the congress has opened early-bird pricing (for one and two people), with those rates available until March 31. On the registration pages of the site, you’ll find that hotel rates have been negotiated, as well.

Held in association with the dates of the annual Guadalajara International Book Fair, the 2023 edition of which just closed on Sunday, the congress is to have presentations focused on, as organizers put it, “copyright, the freedom to publish, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as focuses on trade, education and STM publishing.

Through a variety of sessions from small “page-turner” presentations, to “on the same page” panel discussions and “blank page” workshops,” the congress is being arranged under an overall theme, Turning Pages: Publishing and the Future Society, reflecting a goal of enabling concrete outcomes for the benefit of the global publishing community.

Hugo Setzer, the past president of the IPA who now is president of the CANIEM, says, “Having felt the energy and excitement of this year’s Guadalajara Book Fair, we can’t wait to bring publishers from around the world to this wonderful city and the extraordinary venue we’ve secured: El Conjunto Santander de Artes Escénicas.”

The venue Setzer is referring to is a performing arts complex set on a sprawling tract of the north campus of the University of Guadalajara.

Hugo Setzer

With its construction completed in 2017, its presentation spaces include an 1,800-seat concert hall (see our top image on this article); a 900-seat theater, which is also designed as a proscenium house; a 400-seat theater designed in the format known in many cultural venues as a “laboratory space” for its flexible elements and lack of a proscenium arch; and a fourth space, a studio theater.

Conjunto Santander was designed by Arquitectura 911, with its theater spaces developed by Theatre Projects, which is headquartered in New York City. With acoustics by Akustiks, the complex includes an amphitheater, which during a private tour provided on November 28 to Publishing Perspectives it was confirmed is expected to be used as a part of the congress events.

Keynote: Enrique Krauze

In this exterior view from the entrance to the Conjunto Santander, the complex’s amphitheater is visible on the right, its white canopy above its red seating. To the left, the brown building with sharp angles is a library facility that’s part of the same university arts district. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

Krauze, the first named keynote speaker for the congress, holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Guadalajara, and is known for having worked, starting in 1977, at the literary magazine Vuelta at the invitation of the late Nobel laureate Mexican poet and diplomat Octavio Paz (1914-1998). Krauze became a publisher when he founded Clío and the magazine Letras Libres. He would go on to write Octavio Paz. El poeta y la revolución (2014) from Penguin Random House and prior to that, Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico, 1810-1996 (1997) from HarperCollins.

Enrique Krauze

All told, since 1976, Krauze has published at least 35 books, perhaps most of them with Tusquets Editores, since 2012 a division of Grupo Planeta.

A 1979 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, he has taught at many universities including Oxford’s St. Antony’s College, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and in the Latin American Studies program at Princeton.

Despite his many awards, including the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X the Wise and the National Prize for the History of Mexico, Krauze has also undergone public criticism from the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, because of the author’s criticism of presidential power. In 2021, Krauze received the III Spanish Orders History Prize, which carries with it a US$71,000 purse.

The Mexican Market: ‘A Context of Uncertainty’

CANIEM president Hugo Setzer, left, speaks with IPA vice-president Gvantsa Jobava and Nielsen Book’s Andre Breedt at the 2023 Guadalajara International Book Fair. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

In a news conference produced by the CANIEM at the Guadalajara Book Fair on November 28, Setzer was joined by IPA vice-president Gvantsa Jobava and Nielsen’s Andre Breedt, in laying out several details of the Mexican book publishing market.

While editorial production in Mexico has increased 16 percent over last year’s levels, the data indicates, the book business hasn’t yet recovered to pre-pandemic performance levels. Sales have shown a “slight increase,” but are still “far from the pace” they’d shown prior to 2019.  While a better year is anticipated when the 2023 figures are known, the market continues to stand in what Setzer terms “a context of uncertainty,” especially in the educational sector.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the CANIEM, in fact, is suing the López Obrador government for largely putting the nation’s textbook publishers out of business in order to create its own classroom content, this having flared into a nationwide controversy that has roiled both the book publishing industry and the national population.

The 16-percent increase in 2022 publishing industry output in Mexico brings the number of units to some 104.1 million, which is indeed a good showing by comparison to 2021’s 89.1 million. During 2020, the commercial publishing industry in Mexico had seen a remarkable fall of output from some 120 million to a low of 105 million.

Educational book pricing in the marketplace and in the national textbook program that now is being dismantled by the federal government in Mexico. Image: CANIEM

In revenues, the upturn in 2022 represented a 5-percent gain over 2021, in sales measured at 104.8 million over 2021’s 99.2 million.

In terms of the market’s contours and interests, basic educational books remain the biggest part of Mexico’s private publishers, at some 50 percent of the CANIEM membership’s sales and 45 persent of turnover, which of course reflects the level of concern at the federal government’s overtake of textbook development and production.

As the chamber is careful to point out, some two-thirds of these educational books for as long as 25 years have been purchased by the National Commission for Free Textbooks program to be provided to students, hence the represent an enormous loss to private publishers who no longer are able to participate in educational book provision.

This, despite the fact that the revenue from educational books going to the national commission came in at a far lower rate than on the open market–roughly 42 pesos for a book in the national commission program and 283 pesos in the marketplace.

In survey work among Mexican publishers, the CANIEM report sees 48 percent saying they expect to see far less income from textbooks in results for 2023; only 12 percent say they expect to see the same as last year, and just 6 percent are looking to see higher income in the current year’s closing numbers.

CANIEM has a membership of more than 220 companies in content development, editing, production, and distribution of books and magazines. It’s been operating for close to 60 years and represents, promotes, and defends the interests of the publishing industry in Mexico.

More details about its upcoming International Publishers Conference is expected in the new year.

A trompe l’oeil mural at the Conjunto Santander performing arts center, the venue set for the 2024 International Publishers Congress in Guadalajara. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

See als0:
At Guadalajara: Mexico’s Publishers Promote Sustainability, Social Responsibility
At Guadalajara: The EU Hosts Independent Publishers
At Guadalajara: EU Guest of Honor, and Italy in Mexico
At Guadalajara: IPA’s Karine Pansa Opens the Fair: ‘A Union of Cultures to Build’
At Guadalajara: Guest of Honor EU Plans a Professional Program
IPA’s Reach Expands to 81 Countries, 101 Associations

More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is here, more on the International Publishers Association is here, more on the IPA’s biennial International Publishers Congress series is here, more on the Guadalajara International Book Fair is here, more on the Mexican market is here, more on the Mexican publishers’ book chamber CANIEM is here, and more on the and more on publishing data and its issues is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.

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.

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