IPA: upholding its core values for 125 glorious years and still going strong!

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IPA: upholding its core values for 125 glorious years and still going strong!

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is the world’s largest federation of national, regional and specialist publishers’ associations. Their membership comprises 89 organisations from 73 countries in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Americas. Through its members, IPA represents thousands of individual publishers around the world who service markets containing more than 5.6 billion people.

 

Here, Pranav Gupta, Executive Committee Member of the (IPA), Joint Secretary, FIP and Secretary-General, IRRO shares his narrative of the 125 years long glorious history of the International Publishers Association (IPA) as an elected EC IPA member.

 

Pranav Gupta, Executive Committee Member of the International Publishers Association (IPA)

 

AABP: IPA recently celebrated 125 years of its existence. Do you think copyright and freedom to publish are still the main concerns in the publishing industry?
Pranav: I firmly believe that in a world that is plagued by the problems of gender-based prejudice and curbing of the freedom of expression, IPA stands as a testament to equity for all as it promotes copyright and “freedom to publish” proactively.

Since its inception, IPA has advocated for and defended the right to publish—an essential component of the human right to freedom of expression. You cannot truly express yourself without fear of censure or limitation if you do not have the freedom to publish. The right to publish is the ability to express oneself without being restricted by others in how and where you do it. The power to produce, distribute, and access digital and published information is known as the freedom to publish.

Similarly, IPA promotes literacy and reading and has traditionally been a meeting ground for authors to socialise, share ideas, and do business. IPA further collaborates with the UN on several projects, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Book Club.

AABP: According to you, what is the role of India in global publishing industry?
Pranav: It is no secret that publishing is a big part of the modern world, and when I say this, I firmly believe that India is no exception to this fact. The Indian publishing industry today is ranked as the fifth largest in the world and the second largest in terms of English language books. The industry is worth Rs. 73,900 crores, or USD 9.5 billion, and it is constantly expanding. We expect to cross Rs. 1,00,000 crores by 2024/25. More than 24,000 publishers brought out1,46,000 books in 2021 in English and various Indian languages.

 AABP: Briefly share about the IPA’s association with India.
Pranav: The Federation of Indian Publishers has been associated with the International Publishers Association since 1974 and Mr. Asoke Ghosh has been the representative of the FIP at IPA for the longest time, representing India in various capacities.  He has shaped the country’s journey in the publishing landscape. My heartfelt congratulations here to Asoke K Ghosh for being a pioneer in this sphere.

AABP: India hosted 32nd International Publishers Congress in 2018. What role did you play in the same?
Pranav: After hosting the inaugural edition in 1992, India hosted the 32nd International Publishers Congress from  February 11-13, 2018. It was organised in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP).
I was the Chairman for the sponsorship committee of the IPA Congress 2018. I was also fully responsible for the entire digital promotions, marketing, and website for IPA Congress 2018, besides on-ground execution of the event.

AABP: Besides being a publisher, you have dedicated time and effort to improve the business relations among publishers and the value chain. Share your journey so far.
Pranav: As a third-generation publisher, I take immense pride in carrying forward my familial legacy of taking this domain to newer heights in India and worldwide. As an individual who has given it his all to augment the growth of this sphere in the most eclectic format, I have done so by staying true to our traditional roots. Nonetheless, the deeper I have delved into learning about the functional nuances of the realm of publishing across continents, the more I have understood the need to help it stay afloat by ensuring that it stays abreast with the latest technological trends. I stepped into this domain in my teens, and if one hand of mine was holding a book whose content I was trying to grasp academically, the other was learning about the rigours of putting out the best manuscript in the most ethical fashion possible. These two facets of my journey have been perennial.

My zeal for sustained learning has allowed me to supplement the growth of the Indian book publishing industry through a telescopic and microscopic view altogether. On the home front, apart from advocating ardently for ethical distribution and dissemination of published material under the umbrella of copyright, I have shed sweat and blood to help the Federation of Indian Publishers and Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation hold a sturdy ground despite political tribulations. This has educated me in-depth on the subtitles of the linkage of publishing with public policy.

Moreover, for the longest time, I have had the same underlying agenda “think global, act local.” This has enabled me to not just partake in the pursuits of the Federation of Indian Publishers proactively but has also helped me contribute fruitfully to the Afro-Asian Book Council and International Publishers Association. Such cross-national exposure has endowed me with a functional understanding of what it takes to tread forward with a growth-oriented mindset on a global scale while working towards refining the arcs of diversity and inclusion in the publishing sphere.

AABP: The ambitious SDG targets have to be met by 2030. How do you think Indian publishers can and should be contributing to this effort?
Pranav: Apart from vocalising the concept of “Freedom to Publish” in the world’s largest democracy, I have also aimed at imbibing a tangent that focuses on the realisation of SDGs, including quality education, cross-national partnerships, tech-integration, knowledge economy,  and making countries self-reliant via organising numerous coveted and awareness-oriented events in India and abroad.

Indian publishers can publish content on the SDGs to help raise awareness among readers. These books can be targeted to children as well as adults and researchers. Since India is a multi-lingual multi-cultural society, books in Indian languages will go a long way in this mission. Another important role which publishers can play is to embrace sustainable business practices, not only in their publishing business, but also their supply chains.

AABP: As an integral member of IPA, what are your future plans?
Pranav: I plan on upholding not just its core values like the Freedom to Publish, Literacy and Copyright but also weaving a publishing fabric that augments the 4th and 5th SDG of Quality Education and Gender Equality in real-time across the globe. Through the same, I plan on curating a more technologically oriented and trans-nationally cohesive ethos in the publishing domain that will further enable us to augment ethical practices in this domain and give all its stakeholders their due share and recognition on the broadest-scale possible.

 

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