Monday September 12, 2022

Bodour sheds light on role of technology in publishing

Bodour sheds light on role of technology in publishing

Bodour Al Qasimi addressed delegates at the Forum Edita publishing conference in Barcelona, Spain. WAM

Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), addressed delegates at the Forum Edita publishing conference in Barcelona, Spain.

In its seventh edition, Forum Edita provides an opportunity for Spanish publishers to meet and discuss the industry’s opportunities and challenges. Bodour used her speech to highlight issues of digitisation and advanced tech, copyright, sustainability, censorship and freedom to publish.

Of particular interest were her comments on the role of technology in publishing. During her tenure as IPA President, Bodour has championed the more consistent, industry-wide adoption of tech to open up new markets to publishers worldwide, generate sustainable revenue models, and create resilience in the face of any future supply chain disruption. The IPA has also established numerous initiatives to support this aim, most notably the IPA Academy, which launched earlier this year.

However, she cautioned publishers not to forget the importance of their roles as promoters and curators of literary culture by becoming over-reliant on technology. She added that the publishing community will be better placed in the coming years to see how technology has impacted its identity.

However, she encouraged publishers to capitalise on every resource at their disposal to protect their livelihoods.

Bodour also spoke candidly on the need to use the collaborative lessons learnt from the pandemic to protect the livelihood of publishers, authors, and all other stakeholders through copyright law.

Reiterating the IPA’s commitment to working with publishers’ associations and governments to advocate on the topic until policies align with the fundamental principles of copyright protection, she also noted the importance of engaging with readerships.

In addition, she underscored the need to create cultural awareness with people who often do not understand the damage they are doing through digital piracy.

In her closing remarks, Bodour welcomed the start of the Book Fair season, encouraged the attendees to engage with the IPA in the spirit of collaboration and unity, and invited them to attend the 33rd IPA Congress in Jakarta, Indonesia, in November.

Before she visited Barcelona, Bodour travelled to Portugal to meet representatives from APEL to discuss the latest IPA initiatives and took the opportunity to meet with local publishers during a tour of the Lisbon Book Fair — an event which is back up and running for the first time since the height of the pandemic.

Recently, Bodour, at the 7th edition of the Estoril Conference, held in Lisbon, highlighted the importance of cultural diversity and representation in the publishing sector.

In her address to delegates, Sheikha Bodour made a poignant speech using case studies as well as her own experiences as an Arab, Muslim woman in publishing to underscore the vital role that representation plays in creating a mirror for humanity – the theme of the conference session.

Diversity and gender equality have long been spoken of within the publishing sector, but Sheikha Bodour explained that it is a subject which requires vigilance and constant attention from the wider industry in order to achieve success for all stakeholders.  As an example, the IPA President used the case of acclaimed American poet Yi-Fen Chou whose inclusion in the 2015 American Poetry Anthology caused an uproar when it was discovered that she was in fact a Caucasian male poet by the name of Michael Hudson – whose submission was repeatedly rejected until he adopted a nom de plume from a different culture, and gender than his own.

Bodour went on to explain that the debate as to whether the poem was accepted on merit, or whether prejudice, gender and race played a part in its publication is a prime example of the reflection and discourse that the publishing community must undertake in order to enact positive change within the industry – change which will prevent the institutional marginalisation of authors and publishers from all backgrounds. She added that as a result of these challenging conversations, readers will have a greater opportunity to access content which best reflects the world around them.

WAM

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