April 23, 2020

World Book Day: Global writing, publishing, and bookselling sector calls for support in response to pandemic

On World Book and Copyright Day, the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) joins the global book industry in calling on governments to support the sector through the implementation of economic stimulus packages in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The association is proud to join Canadian colleagues in endorsing a joint statement issued this morning by the European and International Booksellers Federation, the International Authors Forum, the International Publishers Association, and the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers.

The Canadian book industry has responded quickly to the COVID-19 crisis. Independent booksellers are keeping readers in their communities well-stocked with books by offering home delivery or curbside pick-up. ACP and Access Copyright introduced Read Aloud Canadian Books, a program that waives licensing fees for educators and librarians reading to students who are learning from a distance. Authors are livestreaming readings and events online. 49th Shelf created Launchpad, a new series that is celebrating new Canadian releases in the wake of cancelled book launches, festivals, and reading series. Publishers are offering flexible licensing terms and pricing models to help meet increased demand for digital content. These efforts are made at a time of great economic uncertainty across the book supply chain, and after close to a decade of sustained losses in the educational market resulting from the introduction of fair dealing for education in 2012’s Copyright Modernization Act.

In Canada, ACP is encouraged by the emergency support measures announced by the federal government, in particular last week’s investment of $500M to help arts, culture, and sports organizations respond to the crisis. This commitment recognizes the importance of the creative sector to Canada’s economy and communities. We look forward to working with Canadian Heritage to ensure the publishing industry can maintain capacity through the crisis, and plan for a period of recovery and renewal. At the same time, the association continues to call on government to repair Canada’s broken copyright framework, so that publishers are well-positioned to bring Canadian writing to audiences across the country and around the world in future.

“In this time of social isolation, the importance of books is more apparent than ever,” said ACP Executive Director Kate Edwards. “Canadian publishers, writers, and booksellers have responded to the current emergency with creativity and generosity to ensure Canadians can access the books they need for education, information, and escape. Government policy and investment will be critical to ensuring this important work continues through 2020 and beyond.”