Conference discusses publishing sector
SHARJAH: Ahead of the official opening of the 37th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Oct.31, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) organised the 8th Publishers Conference to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the publishing sector in the region and around the world.
Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA introduced the conference by stating the event’s three main objectives: communication, training and marketing and how the combination of these three elements would help to build one vision and build bridges between different traditions and cultures in the publishing sphere.
During his keynote address, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), Dr Michiel Kolman, called for the freedom to publish. “Pub- lishing should not be a matter of life and death, freedom to publish means publishers should publish work, even if they challenge established ideas or provoke controversy.
“In an internet age, when everyone can publish anything, there is a risk that we choose not to out of fear. Publishers have the responsibility to promote the freedom of publishers and support those that are not free.”
ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
Kolman also touched upon the role of technology in the publishing world and how publishers are responding to today’s challenges.
“The age of our industry and the predominant technology it uses causes many to think it’s reluctant to change, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Kolman adds.
“The digital transition continues and publishers are playing a leading role in that transition. Digital publishing is the opportunity for more accessible books that are available to an even bigger audience.”
Kolman also called for copyright laws to be irmly established and enforced as a tool to instil the ownership of intellectual property, something, he admits, that will force publishers to reconsider their publishing models. But key to this is education and access to essential data.
“Our ability to make decisions about the future of publishing is based on the availability of reliable data gathered over time,” Kolman said.
“It’s of vital importance that both industry and governments produce data on publishing. The IPA is working with the World Intellectual Property Organisation to do exactly this. We want to ensure that all players understand that good policy making in the ields of copyright and education needs to be based on solid evidence.”