More than 30 global publishing trade organisations, book fairs, and freedom to publish ‘champions’, have signed a charter drawn up by the International Publishers Association aimed at inspiring a sustainable post-Covid future for the global books business.
Entitled the International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience Charter (INSPIRE) , signatories from across the globe and across the publishing ecosystem also include publishers, booksellers, authors, educators, international reading and literacy organizations, and free expression groups. All are pledging to support publishing’s post-Covid recovery.
The ten commitments in the charter are as follows:
- Asserting the value of publishing to policymakers as an essential industry.
- Advocating for publishing-specific government stimulus programs to build a more sustainable and resilient global publishing industry that continuously adapts to changing consumer and competitive dynamics;
- Fostering dialogue between publishing ecosystem stakeholders to build resilience, expand partnerships, mitigate risks from global supply chain disruptions, and minimize the environmental impacts of the publishing supply chain;
- Demonstrating the damaging effects of piracy, and advocating for the development, protection, and enforcement of fit-for-purpose copyright frameworks that guarantee fair competition and protect the rights of publishers and content creators;
- Identifying common ground between publishing stakeholders, rights organizations, and governments to fight censorship and promote freedom to publish;
- Closing emerging workforce skills gaps through capacity building, mentorship, and partnerships;
- Exploring partnerships and programs that emphasize the role of publishing in promoting access to knowledge, continuity of education and lifelong learning for all children and young people, with equal opportunities for girls and boys;
- Empowering underrepresented voices to ensure diversity and inclusion in the publishing ecosystem;
- Supporting indigenous language publishing through targeted initiatives and partnerships;
- Highlighting the role of small and medium-sized independent publishers and booksellers, which make up the vast majority of the publishing industry globally, in ensuring biodiversity and supporting measures needed to future proof their businesses.
In addition to the IPA’s 86 members, the charter’s signatories include the African Publishers Network, Book Aid International, the Delhi Book Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the London Book Fair, PEN International, the Sharjah International Book Fair and UNICEF
Following IPA’s landmark report From Response to Recovery: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Publishing Industry, President Bodour Al Qasimi formed the International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience (InSPIRe) Plan Taskforce in early 2021 to lead an industry consultation to identify key pandemic-induced challenges facing publishers and promote cooperation on the way forward.
She said: “Publishing is facing an uncertain recovery if our industry doesn’t come together. While developed publishing markets have fared better, our colleagues in emerging publishing markets are facing existential challenges. The global pandemic doesn’t just affect publishers – the livelihoods of millions of publishers, authors, illustrators, printers, distributors, and booksellers around the world are at risk.”