Canada, Australia and New Zealand plan book coalition

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Publishers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand have voted to pursue closer cooperation between their three English-language markets.

This was agreed at a special summit held on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair. The summit was organised by the Association for the Export of Canadian Books (AECB), the Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand (BPANZ), and was attended by about 120 publishers. Its purpose was to share information about the three markets, and to identify and discuss the challenges they have in common.

One of the biggest challenges is the dominance of the two largest English-language markets, the UK and the USA. ‘We are all struggling to free ourselves from the proprietorial attitudes of the US and UK that continue to dominate the publishing world,’ noted Juliet Rogers, immediate past president of the APA. ‘The USA views Canadian rights as an automatic extension of their territory, even though they frequently have no intention of responsibly exercising those rights. The UK fails to grasp that the Empire is dead and that Commonwealth markets are no longer theirs by right.’

Kevin Chapman, past president of the BPANZ urged that ‘we have to start taking each seriously and stop ignoring each other.’ Ideas discussed for how the three countries could work together included forming consortia to bid for North American or British & Commonwealth rights for books. This would help them to compete with British and American publishers. They also discussed working together to address the challenges presented by digital future. A follow-up meeting is expected to be held at the London Book Fair.

Photograph shows, from left: Peter Boehm (Canadian Ambassador to Germany), Suzanne Bossé (AECB), Anne Latour (BPANZ), Joscelyn Woodley (New Zealand Deputy Head of Mission in Germany), Maree McCaskill (APA) and Ian Kemish (Australian Ambassador to Germany)