IPA Newsletter, February 2014
Insight and analysis for publishers, worldwide
We talk to Viv Bird, Chief Executive of Booktrust about the role of publishers in increasing access to books. We look at the state of the publishing sector in Argentina, a country beset by economic pain. We update you on copyright, VAT and fixed book price developments in Australia, Israel, Slovenia and Scotland, and we report on how a French politician got into hot water by attacking children's literature. We encourage you to share the newsletter with friends and colleagues; they can subscribe by clicking here.
In this month's newsletter
Boosting access to books: Q&A with Booktrust's Viv Bird
Literacy is a huge challenge everywhere. Booktrust may be the world’s most influential literacy charity; its Bookstart
programme, which provides free books to all UK babies and toddlers, has inspired similar schemes in over 20 countries. The IPA spoke to Booktrust’s Chief Executive, Viv Bird, about the charity’s mission, how children’s reading habits are changing in the digital era and how publishers can play a more effective role in developing a life-long love of reading.
You can read our discussion with Viv here
Market focus: Argentina's publishing sector
Despite operating in a context of high inflation and a stagnant economy, Argentina's publishing sector is surprisingly robust. We spoke to Ana Maria Caballenas, owner of Editorial Heliasta and IPA executive committee member, about the varied challenges local publishers face, how book buying habits are changing, and about the outlook for Argentina's publishing sector.
Our Argentina country report is available here
Australia: publishers concerned over proposed "fair use" exceptions for copyright
The Australian Law Reform Commission has proposed introducing a US-inspired, ‘fair use’ exception into Australian copyright law, provoking a sharp response from publishers. Among the activities which would be classified as "fair use" are research or study, criticism or review, news reporting, quotation, non-commercial private use, technical use, library or archive, education and access for people with disabilities. The IPA's Policy Director José Borghino has described the proposal as "wrong-headed in the extreme, posing real concerns for publishers", while Michael Gordon-Smith of the Australian Publishers Association has warned that "if adopted, it would risk substantial damage to businesses that invest in innovation and produce intellectual property".
You can read more about this story here
New book price laws in Israel and Slovenia
Israel has introduced a law designed to increase competition between publishers and booksellers, to break up the current duopoly in the retail book market and to provide better compensation for authors. The law requires bookstores to give equal prominence to books from different publishers and regulates what kind of discounts can be applied, limiting discounts to books that are over 18 months old. Despite the new law taking effect, Israeli reports suggest that big chains continue to offer 'buy one, get one free' promotions. More details here.
Meanwhile in Slovenia, years of lobbying from publishers has resulted in a new book price law, which fixes the price for books (paper, e-books and audiobooks) for six months after the date of publication. It is hoped the measure will stabilise the tiny country's book sector and protect independent bookstores.
You can read more about this story here
IPA Freedom to Publish Prize, update
Publishers from Afghanistan, Belarus, Myanmar, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam have been short-listed for the 2014 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize, which will be presented on April 8th at the London Book Fair. The Prize is awarded for exemplary courage in upholding freedom of expression and freedom to publish. Reflecting on the large number of nominations, IPA Vice President Richard Charkin said it was "good news for the award, bad news for the world". We will have a feature on the nominees in next month's newsletter, as well as details of the awards ceremony.
Scottish independence could spell end for 0% VAT rate on books
As Scotland gears up for its referendum on independence, publishers fear that one consequence of Scotland exiting the UK could be a "potentially fatal" rise in the rate of VAT on books. Within the European Union, only the UK and Ireland are allowed to apply a zero VAT rate on books, permitted as a legacy of pre-EU legislation. Croatia, which recently joined the EU, had to give up its zero VAT rate on books to adopt a rate of 5% instead. Publishing Scotland, a trade and networking body, is planning a special conference with politicians and officials to discuss the implications of independence for Scotland's book trade.
Interested in learning more? The IPA and PWC have just released a report on different national approaches to VAT on books, which you can access here
French politician attacks children's book containing a "naked dog"
During a TV appearance, Jean-François Copé, leader of the main French opposition party, brandished a copy of Tous à poil! (Everybody naked!), by the author Claire Franek, complaining that "it’s on the recommended reading list for primary school children. There’s a naked teacher, naked baby, naked granny, a naked dog… enough is enough’”. The publishing industry has rallied to the defence of the book. Speaking on behalf of the French Publishers Association, Flammarion’s Hélène Wadowski said that “books should not be used for political manoeuvring. Publishers take their responsibilities seriously when choosing texts which invite readers to discover the pleasure of stories and which help them understand the world around them. Through books, children build judgment and learn to reason; let’s trust them!”
You can watch Mr Copé's outburst here (warning: contains canine nudity).
"What Works" on education policies, resources and technologies
Everyone concerned with education wants to improve results, but what combination of policy, pedagogy, content and technology works best? The IPA, along with The Publishers Association and the London Book Fair will hold the second "What Works" conference on Thursday 10th April at the Earls Court Conference Centre, as part of The London Book Fair. The meeting brings together policy makers, international agencies, academics, teachers, publishers and technology advocates for a day of debate and analysis, designed to identify ‘what works’.
Speakers include WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry, IPA President Youngsuk 'YS' Chi and experts from The World Bank, Oxford University Press, European Commission, Microsoft, OECD and many more. Full details are available here: please note that discounted registrations are available until February 28th, so book your place sooner rather than later!
IPA at your service
The IPA exists to promote and protect the publishing industry worldwide. Please contact us at email@example.com if you require guidance or assistance on any publishing-related topic, and we'll be delighted to help. To receive regular publishing news and insight you can follow us on Facebook here, on LinkedIn here and on Twitter here.