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The Monthly Dispatch

While the publishing world is abuzz with book fairs, award shows and conferences, we at Newgen would like to bring you a round-up of the latest developments and the top news stories hitting the publishing industry. In this edition of the round-up, read all about the European Parliament’s recommendations for the book sector, the American Library Association news on censorship and restriction of access to books, AUPresses’ 103 University Publications that embody the #SpeakUp theme, and many more such interesting news.

‘The Future of the European Book Sector’ FEP Welcomes European Parliament Report
On 14 September, the European Parliament released a report on ‘The Future of the European Book Sector’: it was the first time in a decade that the European Parliament has made specific recommendations for the book sector, an important economic activity in the EU. In 2021, the book industry had a turnover of more than €23 billion (USD 24.5 bn), with 18 per cent of it being generated by exports.

The report recognized the fundamental contribution of the book sector and stressed the need to defend key elements such as a balanced value chain, freedom of expression, editorial diversity, independence from state censorship, the importance of a fair online environment, transparency in the use of data by generative AI tools. It also stressed the societal responsibility to become greener, provide more accessible books to people with a handicap, or support Ukraine. The report not only underlines the initiatives already taken by the sector but also highlights the need for further technical and financial support to help publishers in their efforts. Read the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) Press Release here. Read the European Parliament Briefing here and the adopted report here.

ALA’s Preliminary 2023 Book Challenge Data Shows 20% Increase in Attempts on Unique Titles

The American Library Association (ALA) has released its preliminary data on the attempted censorship and restriction of access to books and other materials in public, academic, and K–12 libraries during the first eight months of 2023. Between January 1 and August 31, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) documented 695 challenges to censor library materials and services to 1,915 unique titles.

Challenges in public libraries represented nearly half of the cases documented in 2023, significantly up from 16 per cent the previous year. As in previous years, most of the attempts involved books written by or about people of colour or members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The number of titles represents a 20 per cent increase from the 1,651 titles documented in the same period in 2022; 681 censorship attempts were reported during that time. Once again, this year’s count of attempted book bans is the highest since ALA began tracking these challenges more than 20 years ago. Click on the link to know more: The Library Journal

Library Tele-Health Programmes Continue to Grow

Pottsboro is a rural town of 2,600 residents where home broadband infrastructure is limited, and while there are healthcare facilities within a 30-minute drive, medical specialists are often located in cities much farther away. Pottsboro became one of the first public libraries in the United States to promote telehealth services. Telehealth in libraries is a new and innovative service, and the libraries that have launched programmes are generally doing so with grants or ARPA funding. Read more on how these libraries are serving an emerging need for patrons in the community.

Measuring Meta-Data Impacts on Discoverability

At the AUPresses Annual Meeting, the book publishing experts came together to discuss what it takes to ensure the discoverability of scholarly books, particularly for the mainstream web. The insights and outcomes of the Crossref-sponsored study were discussed. The study found that scholarly metadata standards have an indirect impact on open-web discoverability and users’ experiences with mainstream search. Google Scholar operates outside the industry’s established metadata supply chains, and therefore, publishers must use channel-specific strategies to construct and distribute metadata. There is a structural disconnect between Google Scholar expectations and publisher practices, most clearly seen in Scholar’s preference for indexing books where each chapter has a unique author (akin to a journal model) and publishers’ lack of controlled book-type classifications.

To access the highlights of the panel conversation, head to The Scholarly Kitchen

Long-Term Digital Preservation and EPUB

EPUB is widely deployed in book publishing and if the archival version of this is also standardized, it has the potential to become widely used to preserve human knowledge and culture. Work is now underway by the ISO to define the archiving standard for EPUB 3 files. 

The terms of reference for this work are to

  • agree on which EPUB features are required for long-term preservation and which features should be avoided if possible.
  • specify metadata elements that are required or recommended for long-term migration and preservation.

Click here to read the full article on the importance of long-term digital preservation.

AUPresses Names 103 University Press Publications That #SpeakUP

The Association of University Presses (AUPresses), an organization of 160 mission-driven publishers around the world, is proud to announce more than 100 of the best books, journals, and other publications that embody the ‘Speak UP’ theme of this year’s University Press Week, with events scheduled from Sunday, November 12 to Saturday, November 18.

The publications cover a wide range of subject matter, and many present thought-provoking concepts, new points of view, and ideas that advocate for social change. The topics range from activism and social justice to Black studies, the environment and climate change, business, science, history, education, gender studies, indigenous studies, poetry and fiction, and more. See the complete list here.

What Audiobooks Mean for India

The fervour around the audiobook format never ceases to abate in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. Indeed, that excitement and consumer uptake have continued throughout Europe, and into the domain of Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. But where do Indian readers and publishers sit with the format?

Read more to understand the potential for the Indian subcontinent given its wealth of languages, its diaspora, its stories and literature.

Taylor & Francis: A Platform for Pitching Submissions to Its Journals

In Taylor & Francis’ newly opened ‘journal network’, as it’s called, the company has announced that it’s ‘giving authors a bespoke list of journals to consider’ while ‘operating a time-saving transfer service to move the submission to their chosen alternative’.

‘The new platform,’ the company says in its promotional media messaging, ‘has been designed to put researchers in control of the next steps for their research; article submissions will only be transferred to a new journal at the request of the author’. Click here to know more.

Buchmesse’s 75th Year: ‘Frankfurt Academic’ Programming

In the run-up to Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22), a look at events shows that while the sold-out Literary Agents and Scouts Center (LitAg) and much of the programming across Messe Frankfurt may be focused on the world book publishing’s trade industry, academic, research, and scholarly publishing also have a substantial presence in the 75th edition of the show. Academic publishers and service providers from Asia are reported by organizers to be returning to Buchmesse, following the pandemic years’ impact on travel.

Click here for a line-up of events for academic publishers.


THEMA turns 10!

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the first full release of Thema, EDItEUR’s subject category scheme for the book trade. Thema aims to be global in scope, inclusive and multi-lingual, applicable to all parts of the book supply chain, and flexible enough to allow each market to retain its unique cultural voice while remaining a unified and simple-to-adopt standard. Read an update on EDItEUR’s work and the standards it manages.

Publishing’s Impact on Climate!

Net zero and carbon neutrality are terms that can be confusing, especially as we increasingly see companies, or countries, committing to becoming ‘net zero’ by a certain date. We are also starting to see products claiming to be ‘climate or carbon neutral’. 

At the APEL-organized Book 2.0 event held in Lisbon, Portugal, it was the first time net zero as a topic of shared importance was discussed in the country. Rachel Martin shares the stage with António Redondo, CEO of The Navigator Company, to discuss the impact of printing books. Click here to know more.

Book Buyers and Social Media

Social media has emerged as a great source for reaching book buyers and driving conversations around books. A lot of attention has been paid to TikTok and its effect on book sales in the past few years, and rightfully so, as the app has had a demonstrable effect on the sales of particular genres such as romance, young adult, and fantasy books. However, in the first few months of 2023, 44 per cent of UK book buyers reported using Instagram, while TikTok has nearly reached 30 per cent.

Aside from different levels and preferences in online engagement, there are variations in leading genres across users of Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, and TikTok, providing insight into what campaigns can work best on which platforms. Click here to know more

WCAG 3.0: An Update

The W3C Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has unveiled an updated draft of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0, providing greater clarity and transparency in its development. The new draft introduces a clear maturity level for each section, categorizing them as Placeholder, Exploratory, Developing, Refining, or Mature. The draft also includes fresh perspectives on conformance approaches and lists guidelines that are still in development.

Visit this page for up-to-date information on the WCAG 3.0


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