IPA Blog

Publishers have helped us inspire 290,000 children to read – but there is still work to do

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Our charity, Book Aid International, works for a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve, and change their lives. Every year, we provide around one million brand new books to thousands of libraries, schools, universities, hospitals, refugee camps and prisons around the world where people would otherwise have few books, or no books at all.

The support of publishers is vital to our work. Publishers donate all the books we send, and we hear again and again from our partners and readers around the world that the quality of the books we provide is what makes our charity unique.

We know that simply making books available is not always enough – particularly when it comes to supporting education. That is why in addition to providing books, we also work with our partners to create reading spaces for children in libraries, train teachers and librarians, create school libraries and fund the purchase of local books.

Our largest education programme, Inspiring Readers, has put over 372,473 brand new, publisher donated books into the classrooms of over 290,000 African primary school pupils in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe and funded the purchase of 50,237 locally published supplementary books for schools. We have found that when vibrant and up to date books are available children are attracted to reading, then learn to read more easily and that reading confidence helps them in other subjects as well.

In addition to supporting pupils’ reading directly, a well-stocked school library creates a world of new resources for teachers and allows them to teach in an exciting way. For example, we’ve heard about teachers using picture books to teach counting and non-fiction books about topics like volcanos or dinosaurs to enrich science lessons.

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Building international networks around literacy

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Happy International Literacy Day!

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Measuring Reading – a European approach to comparability

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On 16 June during Bologna Children's Book Fair, Aldus Up, the European book fairs network co-founded in the framework of the Creative Europe programme and coordinated by the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) published two studies on existing surveys on translations and reading habits in Europe (the full report is published here).

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Can publishers help build the creative industries in Europe?

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Can publishers help build the creative industries in Europe? 

As we reach the mid-point in 2021, in Europe we are starting to see the first glimpses of a return to normal life. While there is cautious optimism, we are also starting to see the figures and statistics of the impact of COVID on the European creative and cultural industries. In a report published by EY (and supported by the Federation of European Publishers) earlier this year, we are seeing an interesting picture of the role the book industry plays within the economy and the resilience our industry to cope with these unexpected events such as the pandemic. Whilst Europe is unique in many ways, the lessons emerging form the pandemic have wider applications in other markets. 

Some interesting aspects of the EY report include:

  • Prior to the pandemic, the Creative Industries were a heavyweight in the European economy with a turnover of €643 billion in 2019, representing 4.4% of EU GDP. This was greater than telecommunications, technology, pharmaceutics or the automotive industry.
  • In 2020, the cultural and creative economy lost approximately 31% of its revenues, with a drop of €199 billion compared to 2019. It was one of the most affected industries in Europe, with eastern and central Europe hardest hit (from -36% in Lithuania to -44% in Bulgaria and Estonia).

 

What did the study tell us about the book industry?

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Reading – a Real Superpower

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After two years of being the Executive committee member at the International Publishers Association, I was thrilled to accept the invitation of the chair of IPA’s Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee, Michiel Kolman, to lead the committee’s literacy taskforce.

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Embracing accessible publishing

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Available in Portuguese, Turkish and Spanish.

For the last four years, as Vice-President and then President of the International Publishers Association, I promoted accessible publishing around the world, talking with key stakeholders of the book industry and addressing multiple audiences about the commitment of the IPA to this important matter. My main goal was to explain what accessible publishing is and what it means, to communicate its significance, and to convince publishers to go accessible by signing the Charter for Accessible Publishing of the Accessible Books Consortium. Being actively involved with the issue has made me passionate about it, and I am thrilled to be able to continue working to increase the number of accessible publications. I would like to thank the Chair of IPA’s Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee, past president Michiel Kolman, for his invitation to coordinate our efforts in favour of accessibility.

I have come to believe that accessible publishing is something all publishers should and must embrace.

Publishers should embrace accessible publishing because of its moral significance. Books bring us joy, inspiration, and knowledge, and they make us think, imagine, and create. Books are magical, but sadly over 285 million Visually Impaired People (VIPs) worldwide1 have access to less than 10% of published works2. Imagine never having the opportunity to read everything that shaped you to be the person you are now. As publishers we have the moral obligation of allowing everybody to enter this magical world of books, including any person with a visual impairment.

I know many publishers may not see this as a priority. The threats to the core of our business, especially copyright infringement and threats to the freedom to publish, can already be overwhelming enough to worry about something for purely moral reasons. But that is the thing. Accessible publishing is not about charity. It is about doing the right thing, also in terms of our business models. This is why I also say we must embrace it. Accessible publishing is inherent to modern publishing, and I will show it through four compelling reasons.

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SDG Book Club spreads to Indonesia

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Francyne Harrigan, the Director of the UN's Information Centre in Jakarta talks to us about how she brought the UN SDG Book Club initiative to Indonesia with a local twist.

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New Portuguese language SDG Book Club launched

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As part of Global Goals Week, associations from the Brazilian and Portuguese book sectors came together to announce a new SDG Book Club that will launch in 2021.

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IPA Regional Seminar, Amman (day 2): More united than divided

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The second and final day of the IPA Regional Seminar in the Middle East was opened by Sharjah publisher Bodour Al Qasimi (Kalimat Group), who is (among other things) also the IPA Vice-President.

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