The Publishers Association (PA) has celebrated its 125th anniversary at Hachette’s headquarters in London, with c.e.o. Stephen Lotinga and David Shelley praising the industry’s history of working together to tackle issues ranging from world wars to pandemics.
Lotinga told attendees at the 20th October event: “The Publishers Association was formed at the end of the Victorian age, which was a period of extraordinary intellectual progress, an age that changed the way human life was perceived. And this industry helped society make sense of the profound change... I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that we are entering a similar period where the rate of change is almost impossible to comprehend. But I remain convinced that this industry has a central role in helping the world understand and respond to it.”
He cited recent work calling on the government to "save our books" from copyright changes, continued efforts to make the industry more diverse and inclusive, as well as the sustainability pledge Publishing Declares, which “recognises that climate change is the defining crisis of our times”.
Hachette c.e.o. Shelley, the PA president, said the industry has come through the pandemic “even stronger than before” and the trade is the “best ambassador” for the country as it “strives to build a global future”.
He added: “We can be proud of the heritage of publishing and the value we add to the world. And that shouldn’t take away from our knowledge that we shouldn’t be complacent. As we look to the future we know that we have a huge amount of work to do, and I think we should always acknowledge that.
“We need to make sure the writers we publish are fully reflective of the readers we serve. We need to share a greater diversity of stories to reflect the diverse world that we live in. And we need to be clear about how we can work more sustainably.
“Although we're fierce competitors, sometimes very fierce competitors, as businesses, when it comes to things that matter to us as an industry, when it comes to telling the world why we matter, our collective voice is a very powerful one."