returns to India after 25 years

Shaping the future of publishing where innovation meets experience International Publishers Congress, which turns 32nd edition this year, was held for the first time in India in 1992 and returns to the country after two and a half decades. This landmark publishing congress of IPA (International Publishers Association) is at Taj Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi from February 10-14, 2018, hosted by The Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP). The congress is setting a platform to present, question, analyse and finally emerge with fresh ideas and takeaways that will help publishers re-imagine their publishing landscape. Based out of Geneva (Switzerland), IPA is world’s leading federation of national, regional and specialist publishers’ associations, with its membership comprising 70 organisations from 60 countries in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and Americas. The association, through its members, represents thousands of individual publishers across the globe, serving the market containing 5.6 billion people. IPA represents the interests of the publishing industry in international forums and wherever the publishers’ interests are at stake.

For overall wellbeing of publishers

NK Mehra, president, FIP (Left) & José Borghino, Secretary General, International Publishers Association (IPA) (Right)Founded in 1896 in Paris by a host of leading publishers at that time, IPA’s initial aim was to ensure the countries throughout the world showed respect for copyright, and properly implemented the (then) new international copyright treaty, the ‘Berne Convention’ for the protection of literary and artistic works. And today, the promotion and defence of copyright is still one of the association’s main objectives. “There are four main policy areas that make up the IPA’s mandate and they are all very present in this year’s congress in New Delhi. The four main areas are Ensuring Freedom to Publish, Promoting the Importance of Copyright, Supporting Literacy and Representing Publishing as a Cultural Sector in a Creative Industry,” says José Borghino, secretary general, International Publishers Association (IPA).

Since its inception IPA also promotes and defends freedom to publish, a fundamental aspect of the human right to freedom of expression. Likewise, the association stands for promotion of literacy and reading, and has always been a meeting place for publishers from all over the world to network, exchange views and conduct business. The association enjoys consultative relations with the United Nations.

José says the IPA’s membership is diverse and the different markets function in very different ways. “However, our membership continues to grow and that is because, despite the regional and cultural differences, many of the big challenges faced by publishers are the same. It is IPA’s duty to our members to ensure that we are present in the international debates on those issues and ensure that the publishing community is aware of developments that may affect their ability to keep publishing,” he adds.

Second coming to India

As the stage has been set for the International Publishers Congress 2018 under the theme ‘Shaping the Future: Innovation Meets Experience’ at New Delhi, the four days of the congress will provide publishers an opportunity to explore innovations and technologies that help them meet customer’s changing needs and learn from the wealth of experience acquired by publishers from all over the world. This year’s programme line up includes keynote sessions based on the IPA’s core pillars of Copyright and Freedom to Publish.

“This is the second time the International Publishers Congress will be held in New Delhi and we are delighted to be coming back to meet local publishers and bring international publishers with us to discover India. I’m told the FIP put on a great congress in 1992 and we’re extremely excited about this edition,” remarks José, adding, “We are really pleased with the full programme and the first day really sets the tone for the congress. The Global Leaders Forum will bring together big names from the publishing world to share big ideas about the future of our sector. Having the director general of WIPO – the UN agency coordinating copyright policy discussions worldwide – really is a big deal and his session with Maria Pallante, CEO of the Association of American Publishers, will be fascinating. Closing the day with a keynote from PEN International’s president, Jennifer Clement and a conversation with our Prix Voltaire winners from last year and this year will also bring us back to earth about the realities for many authors and publishers in countries where publishing can be dangerous for your health.”

International Publishers Congress is a rare opportunity that is not going to occur again in the coming decades, and indeed a matter of great pride and honour for the entire publishing fraternity of India.

The Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP)

The Indian host of the congress, The Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) is the representative body of publishers in English, Hindi and other Indian languages, with its members drawn from all over the country, representing more than 80 percent of the country’s publishing industry. Most of the leading publishers in India are direct members of FIP and some are represented through local associations.

With its objective to promote professionalism in the country’s publishing industry, FIP always aims at harmonious author-publisher relationship, free-flow of literature among countries, networking among publishers, freedom to write and publish, copyright for authors & publishers in order to encourage creativity and book reading habit in the society. The federation is hosting the International Publishers Congress 2018, for the second time in New Delhi, after an interval of 25 years. “The Indian book market is the sixth largest in the world and second among the English language books. FIP’s objective of bringing the congress to India for the second time is to help the country’s publishers interact with leading global publishers,” says NK Mehra, president, The Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP).

“Programmes at the International Publishers Congress 2018 are clustered into a number of forums, which are designed for attendees to learn and recognise about the new trends and tradition of book publishing through a global perspective,” asserts NK Mehra, adding that the congress is a big opportunity coming to India after a gap of 25 years. He points out that the congress, which is organised in every alternate year in different countries across the world, is not a mere attempt to generate business-to-business meetings, but to create a global platform for thoughtful interactions and discussions among publishers from all over the world.

‘Freedom to Publish’, according to NK Mehra, is one of the most important agendas in the International Publishers Congress. The congress invites publishers from all over the world and awards them for their effort and courage in ‘freedom to publish’. Yet another key concern in every edition of the congress is ‘copyright’. “Of course, copyright is a topic of discussion for which publishers all over the world wish to join the congress, because they don’t like to tangle in copyright issues,” says NK Mehra, adding, “Say, let’s take an example, many books are banned in different parts of the world; in this, publishers feel it shouldn’t happen, people must have freedom to publish.”

On the benefit the congress brings to the Indian publishing sector, NK Mehra says it is one such big opportunity for the publishers in the country. “International Publishers Congress 2018 will give our publishers a picture of what their counterparts in different parts of the world are doing,” he mentions. He also says the congress will highlight the efforts and commitments of global book publishing leaders, which can lend useful ideas to Indian publishers.

Together, the IPA and FIP have built the three-day programme at the congress that will be peppered with fascinating international speakers who will broach the key subjects in insightful, energising ways, and offer their audience new visions, perspectives and learn new strategies to cope with changes taking place in the world publishing industry. The congress will offer unique opportunities to young Indian participants who are going to be future of country’s publishing industry to meet and interact with the top executive and professionals of the publishing fraternity from across the globe, thus providing a very strong networking platform.

DAY 1

Opening of the congress (February 11) will mark with ceremonies and welcome speeches from Asoke K Ghosh, chairman & managing director, PHI Learning Private Limited; Michiel Kolman, president, IPA, Indian Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu; and NK Mehra, president, FIP. The follow up session ‘Global Leaders Forum’ will have speakers comprising Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India); Dr YS Chi, Elsevier, USA; Peter Wiley, John Wiley, USA; Rod Smith, CUP; and Richard Charkin, Bloomsbury.

In the next session tilled ‘Shaping the Future of IP in Publishing’ will feature two of the world’s foremost IP influencers: Francis Gurry, director general, WIPO, Switzerland and Maria Pallante, CEO, Association of American Publishers, USA, with Michiel Kolman, president, IPA in chair. In the follow up, after a break, there will be session ‘Do Awards and Recognitions Help?’ chaired by Javed Akhtar in conversation with Prix Voltaire recipients, Cavit Nacitarhan (2017) and Elif Gunay (2018).

DAY 2

Second day of the congress will dawn with parallel sessions. On one side, ‘Creating the Readers of the Future’ will be the session chaired by Bodour Al Qasimi, founder & CEO, Kalimat Group, IPA Board Member. On the other side, session on ‘Social Responsibility of Publishers’ will be chaired by Hugo Setzer, CEO, El Manual Moderno, IPA vice-president, Mexico.

‘Challenges of Copyright’ will be the next session in which Paula Doda, Elsevier; chair, IPA Copyright Committee, USA will be in chair.

In the follow-up there will be session titled ‘The Threat of Self-Censorship in Publishing’ chaired by Kristenn Einarsson, CEO, Norwegian Publishers Association and chair, IPA Freedom to Publish Committee. Then the next session will be ‘Bringing Publishing Markets Together’ in which Pierre Dutilleul, CEO, SNE, France will in the chair.

‘Online Literature’ is the concluding session of the second day of the congress, with Siying Zhang from Publishers Association of China in the chair.

DAY 3

The third day of the congress will open with the session ‘Book Markets in India. Asoke Ghosh, chairman, PHI Learning Private Limited, will be in the chair. The next session will be ‘Strengthening Education Publishing Capacity’ in which Wilmar Diepgrond from Bildungsverlag EINS; chair, IPA Educational Publishers Forum, Germany, in the chair.

Coming up next will be a session titled ‘STM Publishing’ with Michiel Kolman from Elsevier in the chair. ‘Collective Rights Management’ will be the next session, in which Ana María Cabanellas, Grupo Claridad; IPA past president, Argentina, will be in the chair.

Valedictory function and closing ceremony

The closure of the congress will mark with keynote speeches from proposed invitees. In the follow-up will be the closing ceremony with the congress resolutions to be taken by Hugo Setzer, IPA vice-president, chair, IPA Congress Programming Committee; IPA president Michiel Kolman and Asoke K Ghosh, FIP, chairman and managing director of PHI Learning Private Limited and the panel will hand over the flag to the host of International Publishers Congress 2020.

Gui Minhai to be awarded 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire in New Delhi

Also nominated for the 2017 IPA Prix Voltaire, Gui Minhai worked as a Hong Kong-based publisher and bookseller who specialized in producing fast-moving political potboilers that were critical of the Chinese leadership through his Mighty Current publishing house and Causeway Bay Bookstore. He was kidnapped by Chinese agents from his holiday home in Thailand in October 2015, resurfaced in Chinese custody several months later, and, following a period of doubt over his whereabouts, was reportedly snatched from a train in January.

The IPA Freedom to Publish Committee’s decision to award the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire to Gui Minhai honours his bravery in continuing to publish despite the risks involved. The presentation of the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire will take place at the International Publishers Congress in New Delhi on 12th February 2018.

A 1992 flashback

The 24th Congress of the International Publishers Association was held from January 27-31 in 1992 at Hotel Taj Palace Intercontinental in New Delhi. The theme of the congress ‘Breaking The Barriers, Publishing for One World’ was suitably chosen in the light of major changes taking place in the then publishing industry of the world. FIP in collaboration with Akhil Bharatiya Hindi Prakashak Sangh and the Federation of Education Publishers in India hosted the congress. It was the congress’ first ever edition in South Asia and only the second, after Japan, to assemble in Asia.

Around 300 publishing firms attended the congress. Of them 100 were from overseas and rest from different parts of the country. A total of 594 foreign delegates were present at the four days of the congress, discussing subjects relevant to both Indian and global publishing perspectives, which included copyright awareness, professional training, publishing of children books, development of book reading habit, textbook publishing.

Among the eminent dignitaries present at the inaugural of the congress included the then HRD minister Arjun Singh, Dr Karan Singh, former cabinet minister and ambassador of India to the USA, among others. Dr Karan congratulated the IPA for choosing India as venue and an appropriate theme ‘Breaking the Barriers: Publishing for One World’ in his keynote speech during the plenary session of the congress. Speakers like Pravin Anand from Anand and Anand spoke about copyright law at length, explaining problems and tackling counterfeiting. On the similar issue, other speakers like Yu Kanehara, president, Igaku-Shoin, Tokyo, narrated the matter of publisher’s status in the copyright system, referring Japan as well as the global scenario.

The mention of some of the key delegates to the 1992 edition of the congress may recall Dr Abdul Khadar Razaludeen, director of publication, University of Kerala; Usha Aroor, Orient Longman, Chennai; Philip Attenborough, Hodder and Stoughton; Rajiv Beri, VP & director-publishing, MacMillan India; SK Ghai, MD, Sterling Publishers; Michael Keller, Yale University Library; Om Prakash Mago, OM Books, Madhvi Malhotra, MD, Hind Pocket Books; Mukul Sahgal, regional manager, Orient Longman, among others. The final session of the congress was summed up with a focus on ‘freedom to publish’ in which India as the country with far more freedom of expression.


Chronicle of IPA Congresses

32nd New Delhi 2018
31st London 2016
30th Bangkok 2015
29th Cape Town 2012
28th Seoul 2008
27th Berlin 2004
26th Buenos Aires 2000
25th Barcelona 1996
24th New Delhi 1992
23rd London 1988
22nd Mexico 1984
21st Stockholm 1980
20th Kyoto – Tokyo 1976
19th Paris 1972
18th Amsterdam 1968
17th Washington 1965
16th Barcelona 1962
15th Vienna 1959
14th Florence 1956
13th Zurich 1954
12th Leipzig 1938
11th London 1936
10th Brussels 1933
9th Paris 1931
8th Budapest 1913
7th Amsterdam 1910
6th Madrid 1908
5th Milan 1906
4th Leipzig 1901
3rd London 1899
2nd Brussels 1897
1st Paris 1896



Gui Minhai to be awarded 2018

IPA Prix Voltaire in New Delhi Also nominated for the 2017 IPA Prix Voltaire, Gui Minhai worked as a Hong Kong-based publisher and bookseller who specialized in producing fast-moving political potboilers that were critical of the Chinese leadership through his Mighty Current publishing house and Causeway Bay Bookstore. He was kidnapped by Chinese agents from his holiday home in Thailand in October 2015, resurfaced in Chinese custody several months later, and, following a period of doubt over his whereabouts, was reportedly snatched from a train in January.

The IPA Freedom to Publish Committee’s decision to award the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire to Gui Minhai honours his bravery in continuing to publish despite the risks involved. The presentation of the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire will take place at the International Publishers Congress in New Delhi on 12th February 2018.



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