The Fifth Quarter Century- The International Publishers Association (1996-2021)

Hugo Setzer, Past-President of International Publishers Association (IPA), has released his book titled ‘The Fifth Quarter Century – The International Publishers Association 1996-2021’. In conversation with All About Book Publishing, Hugo mentions that the book is a journey of last 25 years with personal anecdotes, incidents and a time marked with great changes.


On his new book, Hugo Setzer, Past-President of International Publishers Association (IPA), remarks, “My IPA predecessor, Fernando Guedes, who was the IPA President from 1992-1996, wrote a book on the first 100 years of IPA. It was released in 1996. During my time as the IPA President the thought of this book ‘The Fifth Quarter Century’ came to me and I felt it is something I should write especially focusing on the history of IPA and phenomenal changes taken place in the publishing industry over the last 25 years.”

‘The Fifth Quarter Century’ brings forth all presidents who had in mind to have an organization which is inclusive, globalized, innovative and embraced technology. The 100 years for IPA was very Europe centric and it was with Alain Grund who was the president from 1996 who thought IPA should be an international organisation and then we could see this trend developing over time. Every president since then has focused on growth in number of members and involvement from different countries.” He adds last 25 years have been innovation driven which has led to embracing different business models. Most publishers are publishing in different formats and we have seen that Copyright, has never before challenged as in the last 25 years by large technology companies to promote their own business models.

“Its inspiring that IPA has been able to achieve its mission and been able to grow with committed people and committees we have been able to represent and defend the interest of publishers all over the world. 2004 marked a new milestone for IPA when Ana María Cabanellas from Argentina became the first female IPA President in the 108 years of IPA history. In the last 8 years we have grown a lot in Africa. In Copyright we have been helping countries in submissions to their governments whenever Copyright has been threatened, we work collaboratively with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organistion),” he adds.

Hugo says, “While compiling this book I was inspired by the changes and developments that have taken place. Participation of different communities from different parts of the world grew from one level to another. Over the years we have been trying to be gender-balanced and making IPA a home to mixed global communities. In addition, we have been attempting to stand tall with strong support from our two prolific pillars—Copyright & Freedom to Publish. I tried to put in different personal anecdotes and looked into minutes of the different meetings and extracted issues which were important at the time, combined with interview with my predecessors . IPA has always been remarkable and resilient over time and I have a deep emotional connection with the association.”

As Vice-President and then President of IPA, Hugo during his tenure at IPA promoted accessible publishing around the world, talking with key stakeholders of the book publishing industry and addressing multiple audiences about the commitment of the IPA to this important matter. His main goal was to explain what accessible publishing is and what it means, to communicate its significance, and to convince publishers to go accessible by signing the Charter for Accessible Publishing of the Accessible Books Consortium.

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