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What are the challenges facing the book industry in 2023?

What are the challenges facing the book industry in 2023?

In Publishnews we have echoed an article from the Spanish Center for Reprographic Rights (CEDRO) in which the presidents of the professional associations of authors and publishers argue what these challenges are.

Strengthening the intellectual property rights of writers, translators, and publishers of books, newspapers, magazines, and scores, facing the current crisis, encouraging the reading habit, promoting creation in the different official languages of the State, fighting against piracy or boosting the foreign projection of books and magazines published in Spain are some of the challenges that the sector of written culture points out. In Publishnews we have echoed an article from the Spanish Center for Reprographic Rights (CEDRO) in which the presidents of the professional associations of authors and publishers argue what these challenges are.

The authors

José Manuel Alonso García del Busto, president of the Association of Scientific-Technical and Academic Authors

We have left 2022 behind us with the hope that the new year will be better. And that is why we started 2023 with enthusiasm. In 2022, progress has been made concerning intellectual property in Spain, although it is undoubtedly necessary to continue working hard to improve the conditions of rights holders in all possible ways: dialogue, the implementation of new tools to help minimize the effects of piracy, education, and justice.

We know that justice is slow, very slow, but it allows to palliate some injustices; for example, the Supreme Court has ruled in 2022 that the Ministry of Culture should pay to CEDRO, and consequently to rights holders, the amount of private copying that was denied to them in 2015, 2016 and part of 2017. Also in 2022, it has been achieved that the Press has been recognized as a creditor sector of private copy compensation. These are just some of the most significant achievements made in 2022.

On behalf of ACTA, my own behalf, I congratulate CEDRO for its commitment and unconditional support to authors, publishers, and I encourage them to continue working with the same enthusiasm and efficiency in 2023.

Manuel Rico, President of the Asociación Colegial de Escritores de España (Spanish Writers’ Association)

In the year 2023, writers and translators face some extremely important challenges: the first is to ensure that the Royal Decree on the compatibility of pensions/resources, intellectual property, and related activities is applied with agility and efficiency by the administration, something that can be extend to the unemployment protection of freelance writers; secondly, to achieve the approval in Congress of transposition of the European Directive on copyright in the digital market that takes into account the demand of authors and journalists for collective management and «adequate» remuneration, among others. And, of course, to make progress in matching the most advanced countries in Europe in terms of public library lending. And, of course, that freedom of expression advances in the world, that peace breaks out in Ukraine with the cessation of Putin’s invasion, and that authors’ rights are increasingly respected. And, of course, more books are sold, and reading grows.

David Castillo, president of the Collegiate Association of Writers of Catalonia

The challenges for books are immense and linked to the construction of the country itself, the country we want. In the first place, to advance towards the consolidation of a cultured society, which does not understand reading only as entertainment, and thus improve the impoverished cultural ceiling we have. Likewise, to make pluralism among languages a fact, a wealth of heritage, and not a weapon of war between opportunists. This would be a revolution, one of our many pending revolutions.

Sebastià Portell, president of the Associació d’Escriptors en Llengua Catalana

The challenges we Catalan-language authors face this 2023 are numerous and diverse. On the one hand, we have the challenge of resuming and consolidating the negotiation with the publishing representatives, as is clear from the latest European Directive on copyright and related rights in the single and digital market, which explicitly recognizes the vulnerable position of writers and translators. On the other hand, other challenges for this 2023 are the resolution of the distribution crisis that we have suffered since last September, the implementation of the new Pla Nacional del Llibre i la Lectura, coordinated by the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes, and the structuring of our literary system in the different Catalan-speaking territories. Also, finally, the consolidation of the external projection of Catalan literature after the London Book Fair of 2022, in which Catalan culture was the protagonist.

Cesáreo Sánchez Iglesias, president of the Asociación de Escritoras e Escritores en Lingua Galega (Association of Galician Language Writers)

Every year, also this 2023 that is born, we are attentive to the legislation of the Spanish government, which should protect the rights of writers in all the official languages of the Spanish State. This is not happening. We regret that it is. The true sovereignty of any literary system, as an inseparable part of a culture, lies in not allowing the plundering of its literary resources, which are also economic. The ability to write, to create, is the greatest treasure that a language can give to humanity. That the large transnational platforms do not assume the payment of royalties and that the administration allows it, is to feed the dynamics of savage capitalism.

José Manuel López, president of Euskal Itzultzaile, Zuzentzaile eta Interpreteen Elkartea

A challenge is nothing but the professional variant of the good resolutions, reiterated, because unfulfilled, at the beginning of each year. In the field that concerns me, in these times, the challenge perhaps lies in insisting that the great natural intelligence of our translators – those magicians who, by making all the words of a text disappear and pulling out of the hat other totally different ones, create the illusion that it is the same as before – serve to put artificial intelligence in its place, that is, at its service. Otherwise, I blindly subscribe to all the other challenges invoked here by my counterparts. Hala bazan, ez bazan….

The publishers

Ana del Arco Blanco, president of the Publishers’ Association of Andalusia

One of the traditional strengths of the sector is the regulatory framework on a fixed price and protection of intellectual property. The year begins based on some important resolutions at the European level that insist on the obligation for digital platforms to prior control of content uploaded by users. At the national level, this will be the year of the approval of important regulatory provisions such as the Law creating the Spanish Copyright and Related Rights Office.

At the Publishers’ Association of Andalusia, our 2023 goal is to represent our member companies before organizations and institutions and before the different agents in the book chain. Also to strengthen services such as external communication and training plans. We are aware that this year’s opportunities coexist with old uncertainties derived from the pandemic years and with difficulties such as the significant increase in production costs.

Manuel González, president of the Madrid Publishers’ Association

The year 2023 presents no few uncertainties for the book sector after successfully overcoming the two previous years in which the combined action of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have strained the energy markets and numerous supplies, causing high inflation…, which at the close of 2022 has shown signs of containment. If these signs of macroeconomic improvement are confirmed, and at the national level some expectations related to the increase in the levels of book purchases and the number of readers are fulfilled…, we would be witnesses and protagonists of the transformation of the current uncertainties into data that will certify the long-awaited recovery.

Joan Abellà, president of the Associació d’Editors en Llengua Catalana (Association of Catalan Language Publishers)

2023 is the year of the national plan for reading and books in Catalonia, on which the sector is working intensely with the government. The fact of working jointly with the Departments of Education and Culture and with the whole sector and the involvement of the public media makes us think of a long-term plan with the desired ambition.

África Ramírez Olmos, president of the Associació d’Editors del País Valencià (Valencian Publishers’ Association)

The beginning of a new year is always an opportunity to deepen and deploy new strategies around the book sector, which is happily biodiverse. Growing sustainably and knowing how to adapt successfully to new challenges will allow us to continue working to make one of our greatest shared desires come true, to offer society the best possible readings.

Henrique Alvarellos, president of the Galician Publishers’ Association

In 2023, our Galician Publishers’ Association will be 40 years old. It is currently made up of 44 companies and two objectives will preside over our actions in the coming months: in the domestic market, to join forces with the other groups that make up the Galician book chain (mainly the Galician Federation of Bookstores and the Association of Writers in the Galician Language), to exceed the current 17% market share of the Galician book market in Galicia. The second objective is to obtain the necessary and useful support for the external projection of our publishing, so necessary to cross borders. This is a historical claim that the Association demands from the Xunta de Galicia and that, at the beginning of 2023, is still pending.

Josep Gómez, president of the Spanish Music Publishers’ Association

The year 2023 will offer us independent music publishers many challenges and opportunities, but I would like to focus on the opportunities related to the internationalization of our companies, repertoires, and, therefore, the Spanish musical heritage. At the end of 2022, AEDEM was admitted as an associate member of the IMPF, the Forum in which independent music publishing is discussed and developed at a global level and, on the other hand, we actively participate in the Plan for the Internationalization of Music promoted by ES_Música, the Spanish Music Federation. The great challenge is to put Spanish musical creation in its rightful place at the international level.

José Joly Martínez de Salazar, president of the Media Association

We in the news media are looking forward to the year 2023, a year in which we hope to finally see the value of the intellectual property rights of the press recognized through the proper economic valuation of our right to remuneration against digital platforms and compensation for private copying. As UNESCO says, the press is a common good and must have the necessary resources through the proper valuation of its rights to perform its fundamental work of service to society and citizens.

Joan Juan, President of the Association of Professional Press and Multimedia Content

I am confident that in 2023, the year in which CEDRO celebrates its 35th anniversary, the success of this entity’s collective management of copyrights will serve as an inspiration for authors and publishers to successfully face the new challenges of the market, always committed to producing high-quality content, which is essential in a modern and prosperous society.

José Moyano, president of the National Association of Publishers of Books and Teaching Materials

Education is one of the main pillars of our society and the foundation on which the future of new generations is based. ANELE and the associated publishers have set ourselves the goal, in 2023, to continue working to offer the contents and materials that allow us to build a quality education. To this end, we must emphasize the importance of public-private collaboration in this objective. Together with the administrations and the educational community, we want to continue advancing in this new year by developing new methodologies and innovating to continue offering effective tools for the education of our youth.

Manuel Ortuño, president of the Spanish Association of Cultural Magazine Editors

From the field of cultural publishing, we are firmly convinced that the year 2023 will be a time of development and strengthening of our Management Entity, CEDRO, a privileged space for meeting and common work of authors and publishers not only in the protection of intellectual property, and the rights and obligations it entails, but also to support all manifestations of written culture and its different protagonists.

Héctor Escobar, president of the Publishers Guild of Castilla y León

To continue attending all the most important national and international fairs such as Madrid, Valladolid, Salamanca, León, Gijón, La semana negra, FEE, and many others: Madrid, Valladolid, Salamanca, León, Gijón, La semana negra, FEE, and others. Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Medellín, Liber, Frankfurt and the FIL.
Promote training courses, which in most cases have to do with social networks and webs, printing systems, proofreading, and conferences on intellectual property.
Hold meetings and small fairs for publishers to attract new members, since the increase in the last year has been very significant.
To focus on the publication of quality texts and designs in order to continue winning national and international awards from different members of this guild in the last two years.
To recover the reverse trade mission, this year in Salamanca. Inviting potential Latin American and North American book agents with purchasing capacity.
To hold annual meetings with librarians from the Castilian and Leonese regions.

Patrici Tixis, president of the Gremi d’Editors de Catalunya (Catalan Publishers’ Guild)

The main challenge we have in the book world is to increase the reader base and protect the network of bookstores in Spain. The medium-term objective should be to reach reading rates similar to those of the countries around us. There is a very direct correlation between economic prosperity and reading levels, so it is very important to implement plans to promote books and reading that are structured in the medium term, with the agreement of all political forces, so that they have a longer duration than the legislatures.

The economic uncertainties hanging over 2023 (inflation, rising interest rates, the energy crisis, and the war in Ukraine) make it difficult to make forecasts for this year that is now beginning, but we are convinced that it will also be a year of opportunities for the entire book sector.

José Manuel Díaz, president of the Publishers’ Guild of Euskadi

We have a new year ahead of us, which opens up a world full of possibilities and challenges for the sector. Just as when we open a book it makes us travel, and dream… we are going to dream thinking that in 2023 we can foster a passion for reading for all of us who love books: authors, publishers, distributors, booksellers… and course with the help of all the institutions, so that the cultural wealth we have is strengthened and therefore we become an engine of economic and, above all, cultural growth.

M.ª Isabel Cabrera García, president of the Spanish University Publishers Union (UNE)

The Spanish University Publishers Union (UNE) faces the new year with enthusiasm and renewed energy. We close 2022 with our Annual Assembly and a very satisfactory balance, but with a number of challenges and projects that will continue to strengthen the university publishing system within our publishing industry, giving priority to the defense of books and reading in the academic world in the face of the serious problems that this tool for knowledge transfer is currently experiencing. Quality, technological innovation, dissemination and internationalization, and preservation of authors’ property rights will be our priorities.

Daniel Fernández, president of the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds in Spain

We face 2023 with the idea of continuing to make progress on some of the challenges we have already worked on in previous years. We must continue to increase our commitment abroad, not only in America but also on other continents. We must continue to strengthen intellectual property and the defense of creation and publishing. Of course, we must continue to work to promote reading so that it becomes part of the habitual activities of Spaniards. We must all work to ensure that sustainability continues to play an important role in the sector’s strategies.

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