Publishing plays a vital role culturally, educationally, and economically…

Karine Pansa, President, International Publishers Association (IPA) and Managing Partner at Girassol Brasil Edições, shares her views on how IPA is working towards its pillars – promoting copyright and freedom to publish.


“My first year as President of IPA has flown by and I have been so happy to be able to visit many members around the world. The local contexts change but the key challenges and priorities are often similar. At our General Assembly in November, we were delighted to accept 9 new members which brings us to 101 member associations in 81 countries. Our two pillars are promoting copyright and the freedom to publish,” shares Karine Pansa, President, IPA.

On freedom to publish…

“The freedom to publish is threatened in many ways – abuse of libel laws, social media pressure, government censorship. This can affect all types of publishing – trade, education and academic. Our 2023 Prix Voltaire laureate, Mazin Lateef Ali from Iraq disappeared three years ago for publishing books about Iraq’s Jewish community. We see nationalization of educational publishing in Mexico and the Dominican Republic,” she shares.

On copyright…

“When it comes to copyright, some of the world’s biggest companies want to train their Generative Artificial Intelligence, on books that we have published. Of course they want to use the best works to train these tools –works which have been professionally edited with care and dedication, written with passion by excellent authors. These companies recognize the value of professionally published books but the problem is that they are trying to extract that value without a license and without remuneration. It is not fair, it is not right and we will fight hard against it,” she says.

On data in publishing…

“Finally, a big priority for my Presidency has been data on the publishing sector. Pranav Gupta has led this work excellently to help us close the year with not one but two reports. One that we conducted with Nielsen BookData and mainly their team in India. The second conducted by WIPO,” shares Karine.

“A large part of our sector is dedicated to storytelling but we also have to consider how we tell our own story. Individual success stories are part of that of course, but good, strong data on the global publishing sector is vital. Having that data over time helps us understand the different changes in our sector,” she says.

“The current situation is that there are markets where data is collected and markets where no data is collected. Even among the markets where data is collected that doesn’t necessarily mean it is comparable, but it is a start,” she adds. “We know that publishing plays a vital role culturally, educationally, but also economically. These reports are part of establishing the evidence base for us to explain to policy makers the importance of publishing.”

Women in publishing are making their voices heard!
-Karine Pansa, President, International Publishers Association (IPA)

AABP: In the rapidly evolving landscape of publishing, what opportunities do you see for women to not only enter the industry but also to thrive and make a significant impact?

Karine: I think the global publishing sector is becoming much more sensitive to the need to be more diverse at all levels. Different markets are traveling at different speeds but there are so many great examples of inspirational women in publishing that these positive changes can only accelerate.

AABP: Recognizing the challenges that can exist in the publishing world, particularly for women, how can the industry address and overcome these obstacles to ensure a more inclusive and equitable environment?

Karine: The first challenge is always recognizing the issue, and the scale of any obstacles. The best examples we see have started out by collecting data on the current situation and then finding the collective commitment within the sector to make a change.

AABP: Reflecting on your experiences in the publishing field, could you share some personal or industry-wide highlights of your career that showcase the accomplishments and contributions of women in publishing?

Karine: As a woman in publishing I have been able to be President of both the Brazilian Book Chamber and now IPA. I am still only the third female President of the IPA but also part of the first and second all female President/Vice President leadership of the Association. It is a huge honour and I can only recognize the first female IPA President, Ana Maria Cabanellas as a great inspiration.

AABP: As we look ahead to the future of publishing, what role do you envision for women in shaping the industry, and how can we collectively work towards creating an even more diverse and innovative landscape?

Karine: I am optimistic that women in publishing around the world are organizing themselves and making their voices heard. Diversity around gender isn’t the only diversity challenge our sector will have to deal with but it is an important example of how we can recognize our own challenges and deal with them.

Literacy is the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies
-Gvantsa Jobava, Vice President, IPA and Editor/International Relations Manager, Intelekti Publishing.

AABP: Brief us about the 34th International Publishing Congress

Gvantsa: I am honoured to be leading the Programming Committee for the 34th International Publishers Congress which will take place from 3-6 December 2024 in Guadalajara, Mexico, at the same time as the international book fair. Tickets went on sale last week and we have a really exciting programme coming together.

We are delighted to have Enrique Krauze as our first keynote. As an historian and a leading Mexican author, his special perspective on the pages our industry will turn in the future will be a real highlight of the Congress.

The venue of the Congress is the magnificent Conjunto Santander de Artes Escénicas. We will have sessions on copyright, freedom to publish, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as focuses on trade, education and STM publishing. Through a variety of sessions from mini ‘Page Turner’ presentations, to ‘On The Same Page’ panel discussions and ‘Blank Page’ workshops, the Congress will live its theme of ‘Turning Pages: Publishing and the Future Society’ to produce concrete outcomes for the benefit of the global publishing community.

AABP: Brief us about the focus on SDG in publishing?

Gvantsa: A huge part of global publishing is purely dedicated to educational publishing – SDG 4. Academic publishing of SDG-related research informs policy makers in their decision making. Trade and children’s publishers help readers of all ages understand the challenges our societies face. The IPA worked with the UN and others on the SDG Book Club – collections of children’s books on the different SDGs in the 6 UN languages, which have inspired clubs in other languages. But it isn’t just about what we publish. It is also about how we publish. The SDG Publishers Compact, a pledge of 10 commitments for publishers to show their commitment to the SDGs, has over 300 signatories.

AABP: Share a brief about the IPA’a literacy working group.

Gvantsa: Finally, I also co-chair the IPA’s literacy working group. This year IPA supported the Ljubljana Manifesto on higher-level reading which underlines how important it is for children to learn how to read long-form texts. It has been great to see the manifesto attract a lot of attention worldwide. Literacy is so important. The theme chosen by UNESCO for this year’s International Literacy Day was Promoting literacy for a World in Transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies.

Literacy is the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies. That sentiment alone shows how important publishing is.

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