IPA Blog

Ben Steward

IPA Regional Seminar, Amman (day 2): More united than divided

The second and final day of the IPA Regional Seminar in the Middle East was opened by Sharjah publisher Bodour Al Qasimi (Kalimat Group), who is (among other things) also the IPA Vice-President.
When the IPA regional seminar in Amman, Jordan, got underway this morning there was a crackle of promise in the air. This was more than a conference opening – it was like the inauguration of a new bridge spanning the space between the IPA’s global membership and the Arab World.
Between end of July and early September I had the chance of participating in several important events throughout Latin America. A region full of contrasts, where a wealthy, vigorous parts of society still coexists with undeserving levels of poverty. An assignment still to solve. Every country with a different, rich culture and traditions and enchanting people.
Every year I read dozens of manuscripts submitted to our publishing house. Unfortunately not all of them are as enjoyable or educating as I expect and only a handful end up published. Beside these books, that I don’t have any control in choosing, I have another ‘to read list’ that I cherry pick from prize shortlists, reviews in magazines and newspapers, friends’ and colleagues’ recommendations, or just authors I love!
On the topic of inclusion, we tend to focus on the areas of gender and sexual orientation. What does not receive as much attention is the area of accessibility. Simply put, having our products and services designed for people with disabilities speaks to the core of what publishers care about; the ability to reach and convey understanding to our target audiences. Accessibility is a key focus at the IPA, and the current IPA President, Hugo Setzer, is leading the call for publishers to support inclusive publishing practices. I caught up with Hugo to find out more; 
What do Kenya, Germany and Korea have in common? There are all members of IPA, and during June I had the unique opportunity to make a two-week trip to all three of them.
Diversity and Inclusion comes in many different shapes and colors and this month, Pride month in many countries, the focus will be on LGBTI+, or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex, where the plus denotes all other groups in an overall inclusive approach to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Arguably a forerunner in making progress on the topic of inclusion and diversity, the UK Publishers Association began their journey with a landmark report on the diversity of the UK publishing industry in 2017. They have just released their findings from a follow up report, and I caught up with their CEO Stephen Lotinga during the London Book Fair to find out more.
558 days after it was proposed by the European Commission on 15 September 2016, the Members of the European Parliament adopted on Tuesday 26 March, the compromise text on copyright in the digital single market (the market we all share as Europeans thanks to freedom of circulation of goods, services and persons). And then, 20 days later, that text was passed by the Council and became EU law with a two-year deadline for EU Member States to incorporate it into their national legislations.
Friday at SCCR 38 was for “other matters” – copyright in the digital environment, resale right and theatre directors. 
Following Wednesday’s jam-packed day of presentations and side-events, you could feel a drop in energy in the chamber today as a number of reports were presented.

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