Laurence Hugues introduces the work of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers
The International Alliance of Independent Publishers is a collective of more than 400 independent publishing houses
from 50 countries around the world. Created as an association in 2002, we have six language networks—English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Persian—and while we have any members in Europe and north American, more than half of our members are from developing countries.
At the core of our work is the promotion of bibliodiversity
: cultural diversity in the books world that contributes to the wellbeing of societies worldwide. The term
, echoing biodiversity, was coined by a collection of independent publishers in Chile before getting traction worldwide, and there is now a Bibliodiversity Day
of celebration on 21 September each year, when publishers, writers and others can get together to mark their achievements and think of new ways to improve cultural diversity. The IAIP adopted the term when we were founded in 2002, and we have since developed a Bibliodiversity Observatory
that gathers studies, analysis and tools on the subject for professionals and public authorities.
Independent publishers have a vital role to play in achieving bibliodiversity, because they frequently bring outlooks and voices to the attention of readers that might otherwise not be read or heard. Independents—and their counterparts in bookselling—are essential if we are to sustain thriving cultural life, strengthen plurality and support the diffusion of different ideas.
The activities of the Alliance are based on ideas and targets that are collectively developed by publishers. Our board meets several times a year, and depending on resources we organise an international assembly of independent publishers every few years. We also facilitate international meetings and thematic workshops
on topics like children’s books and digital publishing, and help independent publishers from different continents to collaborate—an important aim in the current climate. We support international editorial partnerships and publishing projects
like co-publishing, translations and copyright transfer, because we want to promote greater circulation of texts and widespread and fair access to books for everyone. And we are actively engaged in advocacy activities
that support the freedom and equity of speech, promote the interests of independent publishers and sustain bibliodiversity. You can learn more about our work and membership here
Laurence Hugues is director of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers