The Publishers Association- what does it do?

The Publishers Association- what does it do?

The Publishers Association was established in 1896 and has had many notable members including Sir Frederick Macmillan. It has documented and been involved in some of the biggest descisions in publishing through the years.

Seonaid Macleod, publisher relations executive (trade/international), answers five questions about the organisation.

What does The Publisher’s Association do?

The Publishers Association represents the interests of over 100 UK publishers across academic, educational and trade publishing. Our members include global companies such as Elsevier, Penguin Random House and the university presses as well as many independent publishing houses.

Throughout the year we organise a wide variety of events, conferences and workshops to give people the opportunity explore developments in the industry, gain insight and training and to celebrate its success. We also support a number of campaigns and initiatives including World Book Day and Books are My Bag to promote the benefits of reading for pleasure for all.

The PA is committed to ensuring that the publishing workforce is full of highly enthusiastic, talented people with a diverse range of backgrounds and experience. We provide lots of advice and resources on how to break into the industry via our website and by visiting careers fairs. In addition to this, through our work with EQUIP and Creative Access, we strive to achieve greater equality and diversity throughout the industry, and through our government relations and communications activity work to increase awareness of the contribution publishing makes to the UK economy, culture and society.

What main issues are you lobbying against or for at the moment?

The PA lobbies on eight main areas, outlined in our Publishing for Britain Manifesto. Earlier this year we launched a social media campaign, #manifestomonday, which emphasised the importance for the government to support the publishing industry and the contribution it makes to the UK economy, society and cultural development. Areas that we have paid particular attention to so far in 2015 are copyright and reading for pleasure.

Copyright is fundamental to encouraging creativity, allowing freedom of expression to thrive, while ensuring that creators are paid and investment is secured for future projects. Despite this, there are calls to reform the copyright framework by the EU Commission, which has advocated that copyright reform will be necessary to implement the Digital Single Market. The PA has made multiple submissions to the Commission including Publishing and the Digital Single Market, which emphasises the fact that the current copyright regime enables publishing and creativity to flourish and sets out how any changes could damage the industry’s delicate economy. We have also released a paper - Copyright and the Digital Single Market: Busting the Myths - and launched a #mythbusters social media campaign to dispel major inaccuracies about copyright. 

Boosting children’s reading for pleasure is fundamental to improving their literacy levels and equipping them with the tools for future success. We have been working alongside Read.On.Get.On and a number of literacy charities across the UK to garner support from the government and business community for initiatives to get every child reading well. In addition to this we organise a number of reading for pleasure roadshows which enable literacy charities to present their activities, aims and objectives to publishers to gain more industrywide support.

How are you funded?

The PA is funded through member subscriptions, which are calculated depending on the size of the business.  As a not-for-profit organisation, we tailor our year's work depending on income from membership fees.

Some work, such as some of the anti-piracy campaigns abroad, relies on extra funding from members, but are dealt with on an as-and-when basis.

Income comes in from our Book Fair arm, with a PA stand at most significant book fairs, our Copyright Infringement Portal (which can be used by non-members for a fee) and by applying for grants from UKTI and other organisations. As an example, we ran a one-off trade delegation to Brazil this August, taking publishers and agents to Sao Paulo and Rio Book Fair for a week, with funding from UKTI as part of the GREAT campaign.

If I wanted to get involved how would I go about it?

There are lots of ways for individuals and companies to get involved in The PA. Our weekly newsletter, PA’s PR, lists all of the events we are running and gives you a flavour of what we’ve been up to. You can sign up on the website.

For members, we offer a lot of opportunities to meet with your opposite number in other publishing houses and discuss industry developments and practical challenges in a non-competitive manner.

Companies can join as full members or trade affiliates, depending on which criteria you fulfil. Individuals have the choice of joining as PA Professionals, or just keeping an eye on what’s going on through our newsletters. Our membership manager, Helen Brown can chat to you about the best option, or take a look on our How to Join The PA page.

What work do you do for publishers as businesses?

Our Communications and Policy branch provides a platform for publishers to share and receive key information as well ensuring that their interests are protected.  

Communication is at the heart of any successful business and we have developed a number of different channels to enable publishers to share and receive updates on developments across the industry. Our weekly and fortnightly newsletters provide the latest publishing news, events and policy updates. We also use a variety of social media channels including Twitter and YouTube to share information and content with the public and wider publishing community. 

On the policy side, we ensure that the interests of publishers are protected in the political arena both in the UK and the EU. We engage with MPs and MEPs to provide greater insight into the publishing industry and the mechanisms needed to ensure that it remains a vibrant and successful sector.

We work with our members on a number of cross-industry initiatives: promoting publishing as a career and as an industry; working with partner organisations on Reading for Pleasure and EQUIP (Equality in Publishing); helping publishers make their books accessible. We also run workshops to give publishers advice on a range of issues, from digital deals to improving diversity in the industry, and yearly International and Educational Conferences

Members also have access to our market reports and Statistics Yearbook, and Copyright Infringement Portal. On the international side, we coordinate anti-piracy campaigns around the world, running education campaigns and copyright enforcement measures. There’s a huge amount for publishers to get involved with, whatever sector they work in. Our website has more information on the various areas mentioned above, as to go on would take up a lot more space….