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The IPG’s 2015—a vintage year
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Posted by IPG
Our chief executive Bridget Shine looks back on a busy year at the IPG and ahead to an exciting 2016
As Christmas approaches many IPG members will be reflecting on their work and achievements in 2015, and I’m sure you all have a lot to be proud of.
It has been another terrific year for independent publishing, which from where we are sat is a more vibrant and dynamic place than ever. Our membership has just passed 600 companies for the first time—a reflection, we hope, of the many benefits of belonging to the IPG, but also of the numbers of publishers flooding into the independent sector. Every year we are sad to say goodbye to some old members for various reasons, but thrilled to welcome many new ones. We are truly grateful for the support of each and every IPG member.
Reaching the end of the year with 600 members has led us to do some reflecting of our own on another busy and hugely stimulating 12 months. A packed year’s highlights have included our biggest and best ever Annual Spring Conference and ninth IPG Independent Publishing Awards. We put on a well-received Autumn Conference too—you can watch our short video about it here—plus Digital and Marketing Quarterlies (DMQs), collective stands at the London and Frankfurt Book Fairs, Meet the Buyers sessions, dinners for our special interest groups and much, much more. We have also revamped our website, extended our professional development work via the Tim Rix Training Programme and added many more offers and deals to our package of member benefits—which also include our regular e-bulletins, access to our Business Support Helpline, free job ads and help with rights. If you are not yet taking advantage of all our membership services, browse them in our website’s new members’ zone.
We have rounded off the year with a couple more initiatives that we think will give members even more practical support in 2016. The first is our new membership of the Publishers Licensing Society, which will give independent publishers greater access and input into the important issue of collective rights. And the second is our Independent Publishing Report—a major new survey with Nielsen that provides the best overview of our sector yet and that we think will be a very useful benchmarking tool. We revealed some of the survey’s findings at our Autumn Conference and will be publishing the full report soon.
Through all this and more, we are continually striving to make sure that IPG membership subscriptions are full value for money, and we hope you agree that you get it. Our subscription renewal letters are going out at the moment to invite members to join us for another year, and we sincerely hope you will all continue to be part of IPG life in 2016 and beyond. Despite all our extra activity we have managed to freeze subscription rates for next year, and we modestly suggest that members can get back the cost of their renewals many times over by taking advantage of all that we offer.
There are still plenty of challenges out there in the market, but our Independent Publishing Report shows that IPG members are rolling their sleeves up and facing them with confidence. Nearly nine in ten told our survey that their companies are growing or staying stable—an exceptional achievement given all the turmoil. As one contributor to our survey put it: “We are creative, nimble and adapt to the ever-changing publishing environment.”
Plenty of evidence backs up the argument that our members consistently punch well above their weight. There can hardly have been a year in which independents won more book prizes, not least the Man Booker, and it has just been revealed that they published more than half the books on critics’ round-ups of the best books of 2015. We will be shouting loudly about our members’ achievements in 2016—and our first opportunity to do so is at the Independent Publishing Awards, to be presented at our Annual Spring Conference in March. We will be opening entries very soon, and warmly encourage all our members to enter at least one category. These will be our tenth awards, and an extra-special occasion at which to honour IPG members. As we look ahead to 2016, we all have much to celebrate.
Everyone at the IPG wishes you a restful Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.
Bridget Shine is chief executive of the IPG.

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