Watch: IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi hails publishers as cultural curators during Barcelona speech
Barcelona: Concluding her recent visit to the Iberian Peninsula, Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), has addressed delegates of the Forum Edita publishing conference held in Barcelona, Spain.
In its seventh edition, the Forum Edita provides an opportunity for Spanish publishers to meet and discuss the opportunities and challenges the industry faces and Bodour used her speech to highlight issues of digitisation and advanced tech, copyright, sustainability, censorship and freedom to publish.
Of particular interest were her comments on the role of technology in publishing. During her tenure as President of the IPA, Bodour has championed the more consistent, industry-wide adoption of tech in order to open up new markets to publishers from around the world, generate sustainable revenue models, and create resilience in the face of any future supply chain disruption. The IPA has also established numerous initiatives to support this aim, most notably the IPA Academy which launched earlier this year.
Curators of literary culture
However, she cautioned publishers not to forget the importance of their roles as promoters and curators of literary culture by becoming over-reliant on technology. She added that in the coming years the publishing community will be better placed to see how technology has impacted its identity, however she encouraged publishers to capitalise on every resource at their disposal to protect their livelihoods.
Bodour also spoke candidly on the need to use the collaborative lessons learned from the pandemic to protect the livelihood of publishers, authors, and all other stakeholders through copyright law.
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Reiterating the IPA’s commitment to working with publishers associations and governments to advocate on the topic until policies align with the fundamental principles of copyright protection, she also noted the importance of engaging with readerships. She underscored the need to create cultural awareness with people who often don’t understand the damage they are doing through digital piracy.
In her closing remarks, Bodour welcomed the start of the Book Fair season, encouraged the attendees to engage with the IPA in the spirit of collaboration and unity, and invited them to attend the 33rd IPA Congress in Jakarta, Indonesia which will be held in November.
Prior to her visit to Barcelona, Bodour travelled to Portugal to meet with representatives from APEL – the Associação Portuguesa de Editores e Livreiros to discuss the latest IPA initiatives and took the opportunity to meet with local publishers during a tour of the Lisbon Book Fair – an event which is back up and running for the first time since the height of the pandemic.
Typically receiving half a million visitors annually, the fair is now in its 97th year and has a strong and vibrant history, but looks to the future with new projects and initiatives designed to capture the imagination of the public.