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‘Foundation of truth’: Sharjah Book Authority chairman speaks on role of publishers during conference – News

The opening day of the conference featured inspiring speeches delivered by industry leaders from the Arab region and the world.

Published: Sunday, October 29, 2023, 16:02

In her powerful words, Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), stressed that publishing stands at the doorstep of history and must regain the vital role it has played for centuries. “In our pursuit of progress, it is essential that we remain committed to our fundamental belief in the power of the written word and the role it plays in uniting or dividing us. To continue delivering on our promise, the publishing industry has to adapt to the rapid changes of our times. “We are at a unique intersection of tradition and innovation, and we must navigate this exciting landscape of constant disruption,” she commented.

“At a time when misinformation, fake news, cancel culture and algorithms dominate public discourse and create false bubbles, publishers have a unique opportunity and responsibility to restore faith in humanity and present content verified and well-researched to shape a future where truth triumphs over falsehood,” said Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi.

This was delivered during his keynote address opening the first day of the 13th Sharjah Publishers Conference, which gathered in the presence of Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, and publishing experts from 106 countries, to explore the advancement of the publishing sector. and the future of the book industry. The conference offers participating professionals and industry leaders a platform to discuss the key challenges facing publishers globally and create practical solutions to turn these challenges into growth opportunities.

Continuing her speech, the SBA president said: “In a time when opinions are formed and shared at lightning speed, it is essential that editors continue to provide a solid foundation of truth on which people can build. their understanding of complex topics. This is a sacred mission of publishers, upon which we build our credibility with our readers and communities, and we must protect it at all costs, no matter what the trends or circumstances.”

The opening day of the conference featured inspiring speeches delivered by industry leaders from the Arab region and the world, including Yoon Chul Ho, president of the Korean Publishers Association; Núria Cabutí Brull, general director of Penguin Random House Publishing Group; Ian Chapman, managing director and publisher of Simon & Schuster UK and International; and Jo Henry, CEO of BookBrunch.

Exploring the publishing sector

As South Korea is the guest of honor of SIBF this year, Yoon Chul Ho, president of the Korean Publishers Association, provided valuable insights into the Korean publishing landscape, saying: “It is a great honor for Korea to be present at this conference , where we can discuss opportunities, best practices and initiatives in Korea with attendees from around the world. The Korean market remains resilient to recent global challenges through sustainability and our advanced technologies, creating a significant positive impact on our industry. This We’ve seen this through the huge rise in digital books, as well as the application of artificial intelligence. We remain dedicated to closing the gaps between publishers and the publishing industry, preserving information and innovating new systems to further advance the industry”.

Núria Cabutí Brull, general director of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, spoke with Porter Anderson, editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, and analyzed the most important challenges facing the global publishing market, especially those related to technology and artificial intelligence . Brull said: “It is quite obvious that artificial intelligence will have a significant impact on the publishing market. However, it is still too early to fully understand the nature of this impact. What is crucial in this context is that this technology will offer many opportunities on various fronts, especially in translation, creativity and editing, and will play an important role in empowering and improving the publishing process. That said, human creativity is still the most important thing and will not be replaced by machines.” Brull highlighted that Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial operates in nine Spanish-speaking countries worldwide, selling millions of books annually.

He also addressed the challenges facing the publishing market in Spain and highlighted the importance of promoting reading and books among children and adolescents, emphasizing his commitment to offering inspiring and attractive content for these groups.

Invaluable opportunities and contacts

At the heart of the conference was a wide range of panel discussions, each covering different topics, providing a platform for acquiring publishing rights, knowledge sharing and networking. Discussions delved into the unique dynamics of various regions, including in-depth explorations of the book market of South Korea and other Asian nations, the Americas, as well as the Indian and African book scenes. Attendees received strategies for engaging with the Arab world and also presented insightful dialogues that delved into innovations within the publishing space, including cutting-edge topics such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and the print-on-demand model.

Additionally, these discussions explored the expansion of publishing genres and formats, including the emerging market for children’s graphic novels and audiobooks. Additionally, panel discussions covered a broad spectrum of topics, including the art of pitching adult and children’s books for translation, navigating the complexities of book-to-screen adaptations, the nuances of contract negotiations, and the evolving landscape of digital business models. . Knowledge and expert opinions were also exchanged on topics of global importance, including standardization in the industry, improving access to international markets, encouraging collaboration between countries in publishing, formulating effective social media strategies , as well as the emerging role of Artificial Intelligence in the world. publishing sector.

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