“Indian publishing market is vibrant and can be an international heavyweight”

Says Karine Pansa, President, International Publishers Association, in an exclusive interview with All About Book Publishing.

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Karine Pansa, President of the International Publishers Association, has served on the IPA’s executive committee since 2016. She is the owner and publishing director at Girassol Brasil Edições, a children’s book publisher in Sao Paolo, and first became involved with the IPA through the CBL, the Brazilian Book Chamber. Here, she shares her key focus areas as President of IPA. Excerpts.

AABP: Congratulations on being IPA president. What would be your key focus areas in these two years?

Karine: The IPA’s two pillars of promoting copyright and the freedom to publish will be a constant under my presidency. In addition to that, I really want to tackle the issue of data availability on our sector. The FIP in India did great work on that front and I’m really pleased that Pranav Gupta has agreed to chair a dedicated Committee for this work. There are so many markets where data is simply not available. We need to fix that if we want to present an accurate picture of our sector.

AABP: What are the major challenges publishing industry is facing currently and how IPA is helping publishers around the world?

Karine: There are still many markets recovering after the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will continue to support those members. There continues to be a concerted effort to undermine copyright internationally and piracy, both physical and digital, is an issue in a number of markets. We will help members push for stronger copyright laws that enable them to properly enforce their rights. More broadly, the sustainability of our sector will depend on us engaging more with the climate impact of our sector. IPA will help members exchange best practice and learn from each other.

AABP: Brief us about the IPA Academy launched in March 2022. What have been the achievements till now?

Karine: The IPA Academy is such a wonderful initiative and your readers should know that all publisher members of the Federation of Indian Publishers can use it for free. There are international standard courses from New York University, Oxford Brookes University and the Publishers Training Centre. It’s wonderful seeing our members from around the world sign up and take advantage of this wonderful resource.

AABP: Also brief us about the InSPIRe program and what more would you like to add to it?

Karine: Our past-President, Bodour Al Qasimi, deserves immense credit for building the InSPIRe programme to bring our broader book sector closer together. It will be my job to make sure that the return to normal doesn’t mean those connections fade away. So many of the major challenges faced by the sector or our societies depend on us working together so we have to build on the excellent platform that InSPIRe provides.

AABP: Sustainability is a major concern across all industries. How can publishing industry work towards it?

Karine: IPA has been working hard over the last 5 years to engage more on this issue. There is so much publishers can do. Firstly, it is about the content of the books they publish. The SDG Book Club is a great example, where IPA worked with the UN and other book sector organisations, to produce reading lists for children aged 6 to 12 around the themes of the Sustainable Development Goals. I was so happy to be able to work on making a Brazilian edition with our local book sector and it has been a real success.

The second, and perhaps more important aspect is how we conduct ourselves as businesses. We have a dedicated working group, and, together with the UN, developed the SDG Publishers Compact to help members and publishers make that first step of committing to action. We also have an excellent resource through our SDG dashboard which shows many different initiatives from publishers and publishers’ association around the world.

AABP: Your views on the Indian publishing market and its importance for global publishing?

Karine: The Indian publishing market is so vibrant and has the potential to be an international heavyweight. I remember being so impressed when I attended the International Publishers Congress in New Delhi in 2018. For IPA that connection to Indian publishing is vital and we were so happy to recognize Asoke Ghosh at our Congress in Jakarta. He has been a vital bridge between Indian publishing and IPA for fifty years!

AABP: Your views on digital book publishing.

Karine: Digital book publishing is obviously part of the future of our industry and it is where there are some key elements of our work, especially around emerging markets where we need:

  1. Copyright laws adapted to digital markets.
  2. Upskilling to shift to digital publishing
  3. Integrating accessibility into our work flows from the start

AABP: What message would you like to give to Indian publishing industry?

Karine: It is such an honour to be President of the International Publishers Association but if we are to build a stronger sector then we need to do it together. I really look forward to working with our colleagues in India to achieve our shared objectives.

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