The global community of publishers works in dozens of languages and on every inhabited continent. The International Publishers Association (IPA), based in Geneva, represents their interests, encouraging respect for copyright, protecting freedom of expression and promoting literacy.
In November, as part of its first-ever virtual general assembly, IPA elected two distinguished women publishers to its top leadership posts. Bodour Al Qasimi, founder and CEO of Kalimat Group in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, will serve a two-year term as president. And Karine Pansa, owner and publishing director of Girassol Brasil in Sao Paolo, Brazil, takes office as vice president.
“The global publishing sector has suffered enormously from the ramifications of this pandemic,” Al Qasimi tells CCC. “This sudden disruption forced the publishing community worldwide to do some serious soul-searching, to find out the reasons why we were vulnerable to such a sudden event.
“Clearly we lacked the digital infrastructure to weather the storm. But, you know, after denial and the confusion stage, we set out to find solutions. We still have a lot of work to do, but publishers worldwide are going into 2021 determined to revisit their business models, to seek serious government support, to diversify their offerings and to revisit their marketing and distribution channels and build strong digital infrastructure.”
Pansa added that IPA will support digital infrastructure development in markets “with limited digital publishing access or distribution as well as more limited reading cultures.
“These are areas where IPA can play a supportive role and use this crisis to prepare publishers in those markets for the digital future,” she says.