Emma House @ Publishers Association
–Fully committed to meet the current and future challenges to publishing industry
Emma House, the newly promoted deputy chief executive of Publishers Association, shares more about how the Publishers Association (PA) is working towards the betterment of the industry and what would be her new role at the Association. Emma House has been promoted as the new deputy chief executive of the Publishers Association (PA), after working at the PA for more than eight years as director of publisher relations. During this time, she has run the PA boards across all areas of the publishing industry, liaised with external partners and suppliers and overseen industry related projects and campaigns. In her role she has been instrumental in running pilots for remote ebook lending in public libraries, setting guidelines for educational publishers’ resources and leading on the PA’s overseas anti-piracy campaigns. Here, Emma shares more about her new role, in conversation with All About Book Publishing. Excerpts.
Emma House, deputy chief executive, Publishers AssociationAABP: Congratulations on your promotion and please share your new responsibilities?
Emma: I’ll continue to run the Pas boards for International, Consumer, Academic and Educational Publishing and oversee our campaigns work, including our international anti-piracy campaigns. In addition, I’ll be overseeing our work helping UK publishers exhibit at major overseas book fairs and playing a bigger role in the work we do with the UK government. Internally, I’ll be focused on the strategic direction of the Publishers Association, ensuring we deliver value for money for our members and are fit for purpose to meet the current and future challenges to our industry.
AABP: What are the top three challenges of the industry worldwide?
Emma: In my opinion, the major threats are weakening of copyright law and enforcement, a clamp down on freedom to publish and building the readers of the future. All of these are very real challenges we face now and could get worse if we don’t unite to tackle these challenges. We are working hard in the UK to ensure there is a fair and open market (in terms of copyright and freedom to publish) and to grow our readership (through literacy campaigns and programmes, specially emphasising the importance of reading for pleasure). We are in a more comfortable place than many countries however and we should do what we can to unite and support each other.
AABP: How is the Publishers Association working towards the betterment of publishing industry?
Emma: We work in a number of ways to support the publishing industry – the main thing we must do is to explain to policy makers why publishing matters – what we contribute to the economy and to society, and why we need a suitable market environment in which to operate. We work hard to explain to all of our stakeholders what publishing brings in terms of educating the nation, building the workforce of the future, furthering scientific research, and providing a rich cultural society as well as our lobbying and stakeholder engagement work on the wider role of publishing (we run a number of campaigns and initiatives). Our initiatives focus on helping publishers do more business, be it through export and securing government grants for SMEs to get on the export ladder, to trade missions to social media campaigns such as our recent #loveaudio campaign to promote audio books. We have a big focus right now on building a more inclusive publishing industry, working towards having a workforce and content output that better reflects UK demographics. A final big initiative we have is to develop a new apprenticeship programme for the industry, giving opportunities to people who choose not to go to university and to join the industry as a school leaver. We must widen our talent pool as an industry to continue to innovate and engage our readers.
AABP: What were the major achievements of Publishers Association last year?
Emma: We successfully launched new guidelines for what quality looks like in school textbooks as well as launched our new Textbook Challenge campaign calling for schools to recognise the importance of published materials to and invest in textbooks for pupils. We worked with our BC and LBF colleagues to see the UK hosted as Guest of Honour at the Moscow Non Fiction Book Fair. We also hosted the IPA Congress in London and we published a new manifesto around what the UK publishing industry would like to see from the UK post-Brexit.
AABP: Tell us something about Publishers Association’s relations with India?
Emma: We have enjoyed a long standing and fruitful relationship with India both supporting our members who have business interests with India, either setting up an office, buying and selling rights or exporting to India, as well as working with the local trade associations in areas of mutual interest. The PA and FIP (Federation of Indian Publishers) are both members of the International Publishers Association and we are close in our views around copyright protection and freedom to publish. We work closely with the British Council and The London Book Fair to further mutual co-operation and interests and especially look forward to supporting the FIP on the IPA Congress next year.
AABP: Moving forward, what would be your targets and focus areas this year?
Emma: We have some major work to do around Brexit, working with both our members and government. The UK itself has a major policy focus on what it is calling an ‘Industrial Strategy’ and we are keen to ensure that publishing is fully represented in any policy and investment that the government makes. We are working with stakeholders to continue to deliver the Open Access agenda for government funded research and working closely with our European colleagues on the Digital Single Market initiative. On the campaigns front, we continue with our inclusivity agenda and we look forward to our 3rd annual social media push #workinpublishing to encourage people from all walks of life to consider publishing as a career. Above all, we are focused on delivering Insight, Influence and Service to our members to ensure they are getting value for money and delivering on the core objectives they expect from us.