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Literacy still crucial in digital age, says Mollet
09.02.11 | Charlotte Williams
PA chief executive Richard Mollet has stressed the "political . . . and social imperative to promote literacy", calling on delegates at the PA's second annual digital seminar to "do all we can to promote people and projects which support literacy".
Giving the keynote speech at the Publishers Association's "Here and Now: The Digital and e-book Market 2011" seminar, Mollet rallied publishers to support literacy and the besieged library service. He asserted that it would remain just as crucial even as the digital world develops.
He said: "The future is going to be digital, no question. But digital will be so ubiquitous as to be banal . . . So iPads, Xboxes, twitter feeds, the cloud, the semantic web; they can all invade and pervade our lives, but they will all be driven by and made the most of by people who can read."
He added: "We must do all we can to promote people and projects which support literacy, be it Bookstart gifting programmes which are under real threat from government spending cuts; or the public library service which in many parts of the country are being slashed by local councils".
His speech also touched on the importance of the technology and creative sectors cooperating, and the role of politicians in supporting this sense of similarity. He said: "There are those—and they exist in corners of the creative world too unfortunately—who are engaged in an internecine battle with the tech world. It serves us all ill. But it requires politicians not to join in. Our political leaders must avoid playing to this rogue's gallery with statements that say on the one hand Google and the other hand Gogol."
He reiterated his intention to continue tackling copyright infringement, calling it a "mission-task for the PA". He said: "Innovation in our sector and in particular in digital services is completely dependent upon a robust yet flexible copyright regime."
He added: "Copyright must also be capable of modification to keep pace with consumer demands." He said the PA was "slap bang in the middle" of preparing its response to the ongoing Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property, and also reinforced the body's backing of the concept of IP attaches and the Digital Economy Act, saying it would be "delusional" to "quit the field, leave infringers with no disincentive, and still think we could build sustainable digital services".
The PA's second annual digital seminar features research on digital markets from BML, presented by m.d. Jo Henry. Two panel discussions were also being held, on "E-book sales: the latest from the US market" and "Looking Ahead: What will characterise the UK and international market for e-books", chaired by Sara Lloyd, digital director at Pan Macmillan, and Fionnuala Duggan, director of Random House Digital respectively. HarperCollins chief digital director David Roth-Ey is conference chair.