Summary of Notes: Publishing Sector Roundtable
The purpose of the summary of notes is to document key takeaways from the publishing sector roundtable held on September 25, 2020. The sector specific roundtable was comprised of approximately 15 representatives of major associations and groups with representation from across different disciplines, regions and intersectional identity communities. The goals of the roundtable are to:
- Ensure various stakeholders representing different sectors and industries are heard, having an opportunity to express their thoughts/ideas.
- Understand on-the-ground impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for sectors and organizations.
- Have constructive discussions to help identify potential avenues that could help accelerate recovery.
- Build a common understanding of the kinds of support needed, and the role of government(s) therein.
At the start of the roundtable, the representatives shared their general experience of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their sectors and organizations. The introduction was then followed by three segments around the recovery framework:
- Resilience and Sustainability;
- Diversity and Inclusion; and
- Environmental Sustainability.
Resilience and Sustainability
To stimulate the discussion in the first segment, the following question was asked: What would organizations need to move towards a more sustainable/adaptable business model to prevail through similar situations in the future? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Sustainable government support (financial and non-financial).
- Employment Insurance to be more flexible and permanent.
- Research international employment insurance models that are permanent and mirror our model to those.
- Reform of the Broadcasting Act to ensure that the digital giants are paying their fair share of the bill.
- Increase in sustainable financial support (e.g. Canada Book Fund, emergency funding).
- Support (financial and non-financial) of the marginalized and vulnerable organizations (e.g. independent publishers, independent bookstores) within the publishing sector.
- Help to promote traditionally in-person events (e.g. author tours, book fairs) that have transitioned to digital or online platforms.
- Funding streams and infrastructures that will support digital programming indefinitely.
- Market research to gain a better understanding of publishing market needs (e.g. readers, schools, institutions).
- Digital marketing support to increase product visibility.
- Modernization of the Copyright Act to better protect authors and producers.
- Amendments to the Copyright Act to ensure that creators and publishers are fairly compensated for their works when used by the education sector.
- Increase in funding for events (e.g. gatherings, book fairs), institutions (e.g. libraries, bookstores) and operations (e.g. distribution).
- Support in capacity building at all levels of decision-making (e.g. expanding awareness and understanding of copyright topics with senior decision makers).
- Increase flexibility of criteria for funding programs (e.g. Canada Book Fund) in order to lower barriers to public funding.
- Creation of a funding program dedicated to libraries.
- Communicate with publishers for insights as they have a better understanding of the markets, libraries, schools, etc.
- Encourage the capacity development (tools and resources) and the coordination of grassroots book distributors (e.g. local bookstores) so that a robust publishing ecosystem can be maintained with sustainable roles for small, medium and large publishers and vendors.
Diversity and Inclusion
To stimulate the discussion in the second segment, the following question was asked: What diversity and inclusion opportunities can be leveraged from the present circumstances for positive change? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Train and educate workers on systemic racism and how to address challenges surrounding diversity and inclusion.
- Hold discussions on diversity and inclusion within the workplace, such as publishing houses and libraries.
- Modernize funding programs to be more inclusive to racialized people and other equity-seeking communities.
- Require funding bodies to direct funds to diversity groups.
- Include more equity-seeking communities, including persons with disabilities, in consultation initiatives from start to finish so their insights can be factored in throughout the process.
- Request for the Canada Book Fund to support training, mentorship, support and development regarding diversity and inclusion.
- Increase representation of diverse communities in traditional and virtual events (e.g. gatherings, book fairs).
- Increase representation of diverse communities in different levels of decision-making.
- Increase the visibility of books written and created by diverse communities (e.g. top 10 “diversity” books, quotas, standards).
- Increase support for publishing houses that are owned and run by diverse groups.
- Collect data on underrepresented groups to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face.
- Add more types of captioning (e.g. different languages, ASL/QSL) to virtual events.
- Modernize existing and future infrastructure to be more physically accessible and sustainable.
- Implement physical and virtual accessibility short-term, medium-term and long-term plans with measurable targets in organizations.
- Ensure that support related to diversity and inclusion that was developed and/or implemented during the pandemic continues to be in place after the pandemic is over.
To stimulate the discussion in the third segment, the following question was asked: What environmental sustainability opportunities can be leveraged from the present circumstances for positive change? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Create reinforcement measures in organizations to ensure that environmentally sustainable measures are in place.
- Increase the efforts of publishing sector leaders to promote their green measures.
- Use environmentally friendly paper in the printing process.
- Collaborate across the supply chain to address environmental challenges.
- Address carbon-heavy practices such as vehicles used to transport/deliver books.
- Provide financial incentives such as green tax credits.
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