Frankfurt Book Fair is always a great opportunity for IPA members to be able to meet each other in person and the day before this year’s fair saw IPA’s Executive Committee come together for a face-to-face meeting for the second time this year.
The book fair proper for IPA started with an IPA pillar, with the meeting of our Copyright Committee. As ever it was an excellent opportunity for members from around the world to share the latest copyright discussions from their respective countries and identify shared challenges. Unsurprisingly artificial intelligence was a popular discussion item but there were also updates on the long-standing challenges in South Afica and Canada among others.
In parallel, IPA President, Karine Pansa attended the launch of the Ljubljana Manifesto on higher-reading as part of the Guest of Honour Programme. She noted UNESCO theme for this year’s World Literacy Day: Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies. Literacy is the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies. This is the crucial role of publishing and publishers for a future society.
From copyright and literacy, attention shifted to sustainability and the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the IPA and Frankfurt Book Fair hosting the third Sustainability Summit. The well-attended summit was opened by Juergen Boos, head of the book fair who underlined the need to work together, a message echoed by IPA President, Karine Pansa who also underlined the urgency for action. Mary Glenn the new chief of UN Publications placed the progress towards the SDGs in context as we pass have way to 2030. While progress hasn’t been could enough she encouraged everyone that all games are won in the second half. The session closed with a great look at practical initiatives from booksellers on returns, STM publishers with their SDG roadmap, the 2030 publishing accelerator and the Book 2.0 conference in Lisbon.
Our schedule returned to an IPA pillar, with our traditional open freedom to publish meeting, where IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee chair, Kristenn Einarsson was able to share updates on IPA’s work including moving footage from the IPA’s 2023 Prix Voltaire ceremony at the World Expression Forum in Norway with the speech of laureate Mazin Lateef Ali’s son, and the speech from Victoria Amelina, the Ukrainian author who received the Prix Voltaire Special Award on behalf of her fellow author Volodymyr Vakulenko. Amelina herself was lost to the war in a bombing in Kramtorsk.
The meeting featured two guest speakers Tanja Tuma from Slovenia who spoke about the situation in her own country but also in the broader Balkans region, sharing details from a new PEN International report on the region. You can read that report here. Our second guest was Dee Collins, from Prix Voltaire shortlisted publisher Mercier Press in Ireland. She gave a compelling look at Mercier Presses 80 year history and how the house had challenged accepted Catholic dogma in the country and Irish censorship.
The meeting featured particularly worrying updates about the situations in Hungary and Mexico as well as from Norway, Italy, Germany and France.
In parallel, IPA was partnering with Fondazione LIA and the Federation of European Publishers on their accessibility sessions which are increasingly important with the European Accessibility Act coming into force in 2025.
IPA’s day closed with a special event to bring together IPA members and friends. They were treated to an engaging and inspiring discussion between Penguin Random House CEO Emeritus, Markus Dohle, and Nigerian author, publishers, bookseller and festival organizer Lola Shoneyin. They covered copyright, AI , freedom of expression and diversity in wide-ranging discussion that underlined the power of publishing, with Dohl encouraging every attendee to leave the session and be an advocate for the success of our sector and publishing specifically.
As IPA President had said in her opening speech All of us here are united by the power of books and the value of publishing. The exchange of idea, entertainment, building empathy, access to the scientific record, education, visions for the future. Publishing does all of this and IPA is honoured to work with you to promote this wonderful sector.
Day 2 for IPA features a meeting of our Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee and we will also be attending the annual Rendez-vous of the Federation of European Publishers.
Everyone is welcome to join our Freedom to Publish panel ‘Pressure on Publisher – challenging norms and navigating controversy’ which takes place in the Pavilion at 3pm. If you aren’t in Frankfurt you can live stream it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDLts92Tt-Q
And finally we will launch our 34th International Publishers Congress at the Mexican reception at 5pm (Hall 5.0 B132). Join us for some exciting announcements!