Con­fer­ence dis­cusses pub­lish­ing sec­tor

The Gulf Today - - HOME - BY A STAFF RE­PORTER

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.”

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