On World Book and Copyright Day 2021, the International Publishers Association (IPA) pays tribute to publishers' unstinting, positive contribution to the world during a year in which our societies have faced unprecedented pressure.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, publishers everywhere have continued to bring new talent and well-loved favourites to light; they have empowered vital, trustworthy research; and they have innovated to enable learners to pursue their education from afar.
These undertakings have been possible because international copyright treaties and national laws allow publishers to invest in original authorship and new works of the mind. The global copyright framework provides the foundation that publishers depend on to invest in publishing books that educate, enlighten and entertain audiences around the world as well as new technologies to improve their widespread availability and accessibility.
The widespread temporary closure of book stores during the pandemic has had a serious impact on book sales. In some countries, book retailers have adapted by expanding their online offer of physical deliveries, eBooks and audiobooks, though this has not been able to replace over-the-counter sales. But the IPA has also established that, in many countries, online book sales are impossible, which impacts readers as well as publishers.
The global copyright framework is today more important than ever to ensure that publishers can continue to sustainably provide readers, learners, teachers, parents, scientists, researchers, and society as a whole with the publications they need.
IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi said: ‘An IPA survey in 2020 revealed that publishers everywhere, especially those in the educational space, were hard-hit by the pandemic, but that those in developing economies reported the greatest hardships by far. It is essential to strengthen and protect local publishing so it can continue to give voice to home-grown authors and thinkers. They must not be left behind as the global book industry innovates and adapts its way to recovery.’
Jessica Sänger, Chair of IPA's Copyright Committee, added: ‘This ongoing global crisis has demonstrated how much value publishers bring to readers all over the world. Publishers can continue to fulfil this vital role in society because the global copyright framework enables them to innovate and adapt even to major challenges. This World Book and Copyright Day, we should celebrate how copyright law has enabled publishers to deliver all the diverse literature, vital research and educational resources they have continued to provide, sometimes against the odds.’