Richard Charkin lists publishers’ priorities
Richard Charkin, MD of Bloomsbury Adult Publishing, has recently been appointed President of the International Publishers Association [IPA]. In an early address he listed his top issues for publishers over the next two years. They are summarised briefly below:
- The IPA has a recruitment challenge. It has only 50 members out of a potential 200 members worldwide. It is difficult, therefore, for it to be able to claim that it represents the interests of all publishers’ associations.
- Charkin raised the huge but thorny issue of freedom of speech, and, referring to the Charlie Hebdo murders and subsequent events in Paris, asked ‘how do we square our absolute commitment to freedom to publish with the activities of some of our member country governments, whilst excluding some others?’
- The IPA needs to ensure that less wealthy member organisations from smaller countries still feel that their voice has ‘value and resonance’.
- Duplication of effort between national associations, regional and special interest organisations should be avoided. A little contentiously, Charkin asserted that ‘The Publishers Association is the pre-eminent voice for publishers in the UK, utilising its knowledge of the UK market and political system for the benefit of its members.’ He also pointed out the need to draw on the expertise of the Federation of European Publishers to ensure that the interests of UK publishers are properly represented in Brussels.
- Another thorny issue that he raised is how publishers should engage with what he referred to as ‘quasi publishing technology entities’ such as Google and Amazon. He suggested that discussion is required to establish what form the relationship between these organisations and traditional publishers should take going forward.
- Also topical and controversial is the question of how the publishing industry can ensure ‘that the undeniable benefits of copyright and commercial publishing activities are understood better by governments and consumers.’
- Related to this, he said that governments and others are getting too involved in the activities of the publishing industry, which is stifling culture and creativity. The industry needs to find ways of redressing the balance.
See a more detailed account of Richard Charkin’s address by clicking here.