President of the International Publishers Association (IPA) Bodour Al Qasimi has wrapped-up a productive week of networking and exchange at the 74th Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022. After attending the opening ceremony of the five-day event, Bodour led discussions and participated in key conversations with thought leaders and industry colleagues on the practical and pragmatic steps needed to forge a successful, sustainable, and inclusive future for global publishing.
A highlight of her time in Frankfurt was her participation in the panel discussion “How Does Data Serve the Publishing Industry?” — a talk co-organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Frankfurter Buchmesse. Leading the discussion, Bodour highlighted key findings from the analysis of data gathered by the IPA and sourced from WIPO’s latest Global Publishing Industry Report.
Three main themes emerged from her insightful review — issues of sustainability, the need to address the uneven market impact and recovery of developing nations during and after the pandemic, and the digital transformation and acceleration necessary for publishing in these countries to thrive.
Bodour explained that due to the events of recent years, publishers big and small have been forced to undergo some level of digital transformation in order to reach their market, and to maximise the opportunities which arose when demand for digital publishing grew along with the power of online purchasing and discovery.
But she also noted that the shift towards digital has not yet been fully capitalised on, and that a lack of data collection has been a key weakness when it comes to mobilising government support, and for planning coordinated industry development. The IPA President emphasised that by using data, the publishing industry can be a major driver of sustainable development and economic growth.
Speaking later at the IPA’s Sustainability Summit, Bodour called upon the publishing industry to focus rapidly on creating sustainable solutions for all, and highlighted some of the recent challenges and environmental concerns the world has faced.
She redoubled the IPA’s support for publishers that have already taken action to find sustainable solutions to industry-wide problems, and spoke about the recently announced International Publishing 2030 Accelerator Manifesto — a joint venture between the IPA and the Federation of European Publishers which has been devised support and test early-stage ideas which address sustainability, and drive real change within the publishing sector.
On a more personal note, Bodour attended a reception held ahead of the highly acclaimed Sharjah International Book Fair — her hometown event, which is celebrating its 41st edition this year. One of the many highlights of this year’s fair will be the debut of the Rights Connection Award. This prize was created by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) to celebrate the champions of publishing rights.
Furthermore, Bodour received a token of appreciation at an event hosted by the Arab Publishers Association in recognition of her dedication and passion for the publishing industry. The giving of this token echoed sentiments expressed by European colleagues with Bodour also receiving a Plaque of Appreciation from the Association of Greek Publishers & Booksellers, marking the contribution she has made, and continues to make in the industry.