Cover of the report cover for A Collective Commitment to a Sustainable, Resilient, and Inclusive Future

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has released a report following its two-year investigation to gauge the effects of Covid-19 on global publishing and to map pathways to a more resilient, future-ready book sector.

Publication of A Collective Commitment To A Sustainable, Resilient, And Inclusive Future, ends phase one of the International Sustainable Publishing and Industry Resilience (InSPIRe) plan, which is backed by over 60 organizations linked to the publishing industry. You can read the report here.

It details the findings of a comprehensive round of consultations, workshops, and open discussions with all book sector actors, from publishers, booksellers, authors, educators and bookfairs, to international reading and literacy organizations and free expression groups.

Specifically, it lists challenges and opportunities in five priority areas that will only be addressed through collaborative, transversal action, namely:

  • Strengthening copyright for the digital age

Copyright is a flexible, effective rights protection system, but the pandemic sparked a surge in piracy amid soaring demand for digital and printed works. Universal understanding of copyright may safeguard exclusive rights in the digital economy while incentivizing protections for new and established digital business models.

  • Countering rising threats to freedom to publish

Fear is driving self-censorship everywhere and laws to protect freedom of expression and under threat. Publishing is a vital early-warning system that challenges government overreach and holds tech platforms to account if they put profits before ethics.

  • Addressing sustainability through collective action

Urgent steps on sustainable development and climate change must involve the entire value chain. Priorities will include formalizing sustainability standards, ensuring widespread adoption of progress reporting, and multi-stakeholder action to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.

  • Mainstreaming diversity, equity, and inclusion

The book ecosystem is ready to change, but many organizations don’t know where to start. Turning good intentions and on-paper commitments into actionable objectives to achieve meaningful outcomes will require commitment, education, and the development of common reporting standards for progress and accountability.

  • Mastering technology for innovation and transformation

The pandemic impelled a generalized pivot to digital working and gave rise to online book fairs, events, and marketplaces, while accelerating the rise of ecommerce. However, world publishing markets are moving at different speeds, leaving smaller businesses at risk. Workforce upskilling and stronger partnerships are needed to ensure everyone benefits from digital opportunities and new business models.

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