Round-Up: The hot topics at the IPG Autumn Conference & The Bookseller Children’s Conference

Two great events that, every year, bring up the big topics in publishing right now: the IPG Autumn Conference and The Bookseller Children’s Conference.

We were lucky enough to be sponsoring both events this year and had the opportunity to attend the key talks and seminars.

That’s why we’ve compiled our top takeaways from the events – but it would be great to know what you enjoyed most at the year’s conferences too. Tweet us @PODWorldwide.

Before we dive in – credit just has to go to the brilliant rendition of ‘Higher and Higher’ by the 300+ delegates, led by vocal tutor James Sills at the IPG Conference. It topped a really great event with something, it’s safe to say, we’ve not seen at a conference before!

1. Climate change and sustainability were top of the agenda

It’s something that affects every single one of us – and so it’s clearly affecting every industry too, publishing included. How publishing can become a more sustainable industry was discussed across the board, but particularly so at the IPG conference – the topic was spearheaded by guest speaker, Extinction Rebellion co-founder Clare Farrell.

Clare’s primary message was for businesses to collaborate on ways to reduce our impact on the environment – highlighting, in particular, the importance of scrutinising paper sources. Yet, of course, the climate issue is a complex one with issues from transportation of books through to whether or not recycled paper is best, still up for debate within the industry.

Green-thinking has long been a priority for publishers, which is why we’re consistently aiming for environmentally conscious printing. Read more about our environmental credentials.

2. Diversity in publishing was a key subject across the board

The IPG conference saw two sessions tackle diversity in publishing. Eliminating unconscious bias in the recruitment process, understanding how the industry can be more inclusive and increasing the representation of BAME people were discussed by Creative Access’ Josie Dobrin and Zed Books’ Rik Ubhi.

Diversity in children’s literature was the focus of BookTrust’s Jill Coleman’s session – a topic that was reflected at the Bookseller Children’s Conference with author Cressida Cowell. Cressida spoke of her newly launched 10-point plan for making ‘books for everyone’ – point five simply says that every child has the right to ‘see themselves reflected in a book’. It’s a topic that will continue to be championed by many – for us to see more BAME authors and illustrators, and in turn to see more diverse characters in the books we and our children read.

3. The importance of school libraries resonated with many

In the same vein, Cressida Cowell tackled the issue of depleting library numbers in the UK – and emphasised the importance of making sure children have access to their choice of books. Championing the move to make sure every school in the UK has a library, Cressida said, “there are so few libraries left in primary schools in this country. And again, I don’t think people realise that. People say, ‘oh of course, every school has a library.’ But that is not the case.”

4. It’s time to seize opportunities and make the most of innovation

A very inspiring talk at the IPG Conference came from Sam Conniff Allende, social entrepreneur and author. In a bold statement, the writer of ‘Be More Pirate’, said that publishing had a ‘default no’ mindset that stops innovation.

Despite the huge amounts of passion in the industry, Sam explained that time and time again he saw publishers failing to innovate – and that was going to stop us all progressing.

We completely agree with Sam that innovation is critical – that’s why we chose to update our printing capabilities with cutting-edge technology innovated by Screen Truepress. Learn what that means for quality colour printing – without litho!

5. Brexit (you probably saw this one coming!)

As you might have guessed, at both conferences there was a lot of discussion about Brexit and the impact it may have on the publishing industry. It’s fair to say, without knowing the state of the deal that might be struck, that a lot of talk must revert to speculation. Regardless, it’s a topic that is going to evolve over the coming months and years and likely have a huge impact on the industry.

That’s why we wrote this blog on Brexit and publishing.

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So, that’s our round-up of the big five topics that stood out to us at this year’s IPG Autumn Conference and Bookseller Children’s Conference! Keep an eye out for any future events we’ll be attending by joining us on LinkedIn or Twitter.