As part of Global Goals Week, associations from the Brazilian and Portuguese book sectors came together to announce a new SDG Book Club that will launch in 2021.
The term of IPA Past President, Dr Michiel Kolman, on the board of the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) came to an end last month. The ABC is hosted by WIPO and is part of the practical implementation of the Marakesh Treaty. Michiel has been succeeded by Laura Brady of Canadian publisher, House of Anansi. I asked Michiel about his work on the ABC board and to Laura about her background in accessibility and her hopes for the future.
An Interview with Ellen Sporstøl and Kristin Orjasater on how Norway is inspiring the next generation of readers to become more sustainable.
This week is Global Goals Week, an annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2020, there is a sense of urgency. We have 10 years to achieve the ambitious targets set by the SDGs and that is short amount of time. At the end of 2019, the UN announced that the world was not on track to meet this target. Furthermore, they issued an urgent call for action to accelerate the partnerships, collaborations and projects that are needed to achieve the goals.
Persian Twitter is filled with an image showing two different covers of the third-grade math textbook in Iran these days. One is from 2019 depicting two girls and three boys playing outdoors. The second one, that caused the storm of fury, is the 2020 version in which the two girls are deducted!
Diversity & Inclusion in the publishing industry is not only relevant for the workforce in our industry (see my previous blog on key surveys measuring exactly that), but also for what we publish. Important questions that arise are the representation of women and minorities in books. Prof. Judi Mesman of Leiden University in the Netherlands studied this very topic and I asked her a series of questions which resulted in the following blog.
The conclusions are relevant for publishers: ‘do you want to aim for tradition, reflection, or emancipation’? Do we see ourselves reflecting today’s situation of women and minorities, or do we see ourselves as catalysts of change, as inspiration for a society that is more diverse and more inclusive, and that will install a sense of belonging for all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and the other lenses of Diversity & Inclusion?
This also links to a broader discussion taking place at the Educational Publishers Forum addressing the value of (educational) publishing. Educational publishers stand for local solutions, i.e. have a local industry that is publishing text books that represent local society - in terms of gender, but also other lenses of D&I (here is a great example from Canada).
Over to Prof. Mesman:
It has been impressive to see how fast our industry has responded to the challenges presented by COVID-19. While many publishers are busy trying to keep their businesses running, it would be easy to dismiss diversity and inclusion (D&I) as just another aspect to address when times are better. However there are compelling arguments to put D&I high on the agenda before, during and after the pandemic.
Two weeks into the COVID-19 (née coronavirus) pandemic and its attendant doldrums, I noticed some A-list singers were performing via Instagram from the discomfort of their homes. Chris Martin and John Legend were among the first to sign up to the One World: Together At Home initiative in mid-March, and more followed until it became the 100-artist global streaming event, dubbed the ‘Living Room Live Aid’, on 18 April.
As we start a new decade, the subject of diversity remains firmly on the radar for most businesses and industries in 2020. This is also true for our own publishing industry as we continue to see how issues around diversity and inclusion, such as women representation in senior management, impact the way publishers operate. I believe our industry has always been a place that fosters creativity giving a platform to diverse voices. However, the question for most is where are we in terms of diversity and are we going in the right direction?
IPA D&I envoy, Michiel Kolman interviews Elsevier’s Simon Holt and Springer Nature’s Kirsty Bone about their experiences of having a disability and working in the publishing industry. This is a long but fascinating read.
October and the first days of November were again very busy, with visits to four different countries and three book fairs in the course of three weeks.
SCCR 39 concluded this evening with an agreement found on how to keep the Exceptions and Limitations discussion moving forward and the other agenda items wrapped up and a possible new issue raised in the chamber.
The second day of discussions on the broadcasting treaty were mainly conducted behind closed doors with the plenary chamber finally filling at 17:40 for a presentation of conclusions.
Today’s discussions saw the focus shift from Exceptions and Limitations to the Broadcasting Treaty (and sadly not about all of the value generated by the copyright in an original work that migrates from being a book to a film, for example). The Exceptions and Limitations discussions are not over, by any stretch of the imagination, and they continue to rumble behind closed doors.
The first day closed with Dr Kenneth Crews waiting to be grilled by delegates and observers. He was given the opportunity this morning, but the highlights today were the side events and the ripples from some late-night messages to delegates.
While the publishing industry was gathered in Frankfurt last week for the most important international book fair in the world, the action was already starting at WIPO in Geneva with an International Conference on Exceptions and Limitations on Friday and Saturday 18-19 October.
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!