Message From API President On World Book & Copyright Day

Nitasha Devasar, President - Association of Publishers in India

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Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

Nitasha Devasar

We celebrate books every day in our myriad use of content, but 23rd April is significant marker in the books calendar to reinforce our commitment as publishers, as readers and as writers. The COVID-19 crisis has stripped life down to basics and in the process the importance of content, that is vetted and validated by experts, and available and accessible to solve real life problems, has become an essential lifesaving need.

Responding to this necessity for reading materials, Publishers globally are providing readers and learners access to a plethora of free (and affordable) resources. In India international publishers, including all of our members, are using the technology and resources at our disposal to make books (articles, chapters, libraries, animations) available for knowledge or pleasure, education or (re)skilling. These resources are platform agnostic and can be accessed in the preferred format by readers. We are carrying several key Covid-19 resources on the API website for easy transmittal and use. Not just this, scientific publishers, many of who have large global teams of scientific editors in India are processing and publishing new research in a matter of days and weeks to aid the development of vaccines and solutions.

In addition, API members are also reaching out to our community of learners, researchers, educators and readers to provide additional support in the form of resources, easy tips, webinars, community support, etc. so that they can function effectively from home to teach students or aid research/ creative writing even when educational institutes at all levels remain indefinitely shut. Importantly, we continue to do all this responsibly, while protecting the copyright of our authors, crediting them for their contributions and advocating for copyright protection.

API is conscious of the fact that we publishers have an important role to fulfill in our communities and society’s ability to function under the new conditions of contact-less deliveries, distance learning and limitations/ unevenness of technology solutions across India. To this end, we are lobbying with the government, along with other associations like FICCI, to get books declared as essential commodities, ecommerce delivery of books be enabled, and bookshops be opened. So far this has been done for educational books. These are major developments that will facilitate the functioning of our supply chain of vendors and distributors. Printing activity may also be resumed, at least in EPZ, once due safety and hygiene measures are in place and labour becomes available.

The role of books (print or digital) and of Publishers has never been so vital or explicit as during this crisis, as also the ability of Publishers to innovatively, creatively and empathetically respond to the needs of their stakeholders and India at large. I would ask us to take the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day to congratulate all members and their staff as well as each person working in the publishing community internationally and locally, for making a positive and tangible difference to our world.

I urge all of you to use the hashtags: #PublishingMatters, #BooksMakeIndia and #BooksAreEssential and share your personal and collective experiences in this industry of ours with the wider world. You can also use the discussion page on our website www.publishers.org.in.

The Association of Publishers in India is a trade organization that stands for the promotion and advancement of international publishers in India as well as protects the common interest of members and professionals engaged in global publishing.

Nitasha Devasar is Managing Director, Taylor & Francis, India & South Asia and editor of Publishers on Publishing: Inside India’s Book Business (2018).

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