logoPresentation & orientations

Key Dates of the Alliance

• Gijón meeting (Spain), 2000 (an initiative led by four Spanish-speaking publishers in reaction to the emergence of Spanish multinationals in Latin America)
• Creation of the Alliance project by a group of publishers and Etienne Galliand – who would become the first director of the association
• Paris meeting (France), 2001 (some few days away from the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity)
• Foundation of the “Alliance of Independent Publishers Association, for Another Globalisation”, as per Law 1901 (head office in Paris) 2002
• Dakar meeting (Senegal), 2003 (Declaration of Solidarity amongst Independent Publishers)
• Guadalajara meeting (Mexico), 2005 (Declaration of independent publishers of the Latin world)
• International Assembly of Independent Publishers in Paris (France), 2007 (International Declaration of Independent Publishers to promote and strenghten bibliodiversity together)
• Name change of the association to International Alliance of independent publishers, 2008
• Creation of the International Committee of Independent Publishers (ICIP), 2009
• International Assembly of independent publishers – preparatory meetings and closing meeting in Cape Town (South Africa), 2012-2014 (International Declaration of independent publishers, to promote and strengthen bibliodiversity together, and 80 recommendations and tools in support of bibliodiversity)
• Creation of the Bibliodiversity Observatory, 2016

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Introduction

The International Alliance of independent publishers is a professional collective that brings together more than 550 independent publishing houses from 52 countries around the world. Created as an association in 2002, it is composed of 6 language networks (English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Persian). Members of the Alliance are publishing houses and national publisher collectives.
The Alliance’s activities promote and strengthen bibliodiversity (cultural diversity applied to the world of the book).

In alignment with its mission, the Alliance created a Bibliodiversity Observatory that gathers studies, analysis, and measurement tools produced by the Alliance, aimed at professionals and public authorities. The Observatory’s objectives include assessing and strengthening bibliodiversity in world.

The Alliance also hosts and facilitates international meetings and thematic workshops (for example on children’s book publishing, digital publishing, etc.), enabling independent publishers from various continents to exchange ideas and initiate collaborations. These meetings support increasing capacity through peer sharing, an aspect developed in particular around the issue of digital publishing in the context of the Digital Lab. The Alliance supports international publishing projects (co-publishings, translations, copyright transfers, etc.), for a greater circulation of texts and fair access to books for readers.

A presentation of the Alliance by Clémence Hedde, member of the permanent team, in video !

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Orientations

Objectives 2015-2018

Support bibliodiversity and independent publishing through a professional solidarity network

  • Support the creation and strengthening of memberships to national and/or regional publisher collectives (including in Europe)
  • Promote bibliodiversity, popularise the idea of bibliodiversity for the general public, for example through the (International Bibliodiversity Day on 21 September, )

Support the creation of national, regional and international book policies

Reaffirm and defend freedom and equity of speech

  • Create a censorship typology ; draft advocacy plans in support of, and in solidary with, publishers

Strengthen collaborative spaces and innovate to respond to tomorrow’s changes and issues

  • Develop the Digital Lab, organize workshops, and sharing of experiences and tools (on digital publishing, editorial solidarity partnerships, national and local languages publishing, etc.)
  • Strengthen inter-professional collaboration (authors, librarians, booksellers, diffusers-distributors, digital actors, etc.) : inter-professional meetings, joint lobbying

Reinstate equilibrium between book exporting countries and importing countries

  • Manage an online resource centre, complementing the Bibliodiversity Observatory
  • Modernize book donation practices : Book Donation Charter reviewed by professionals from the global South
  • Participate in book fairs (collective stands in book fairs in both the global South and global North), promotion of books from the South in the North

Develop and strengthen intercultural sharing

  • Develop and support copublishing/ translation projects : North-South and South-South editorial partnerships bearing the “Fair Trade Book” label, and research on economic solidarity models (social and solidarity economy)

Publishers collectively adopted the Alliance’s 2015-2018 objectives during the International Assembly of independent publishing (2012-2014). Projects and activities arise from each of these directions, and are implemented by the Alliance during the 2015-2018 period.

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Declarations

International Declaration of Independent Publishers 2014

During the closing meeting of the International Assembly of Independent Publishers (Cape Town, South Africa, September 18-21, 2014), 400 independent publishers from 45 countries signed the International Declaration of Independent Publishers 2014.
Collectively drafted in three languages, on September 20, 2014, the Declaration 2014 is available in several languages (French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Farsi, Italian, etc.).

Do not hesitate to share the Declaration and promote and strengthen bibliodiversity with us !

Read here the 80 recommendations & tools (on digital publishing, public book policies, youth literature, national and local languages publishing, solidarity publishing partnerships and “Fair Trade Books”, book donations).

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The Declarations of 2003, 2005 and 2007

The Dakar Declaration (December 2003) is the foundational text of the Alliance and birth certificate of the association. The Guadalajara Declaration (October 2005) is the outcome of a meeting held in Mexico between independent publishers from the Latin world.
The International Declaration of independent publishers for the protection and promotion of bibliodiversity (July 2007) was drafted and signed by the 70 publishers participating to the International Assembly of independent publishers held in Paris in 2007.
These three texts, as well as the 2014 International Declaration of independent publishers, are milestones in the history of the Alliance – they are a reminder, and bear witness to the present bearing testimony to the commitment of independent publishers, and serve as their policy guidelines.

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Key notions

The Independent publisher

The socio-economic environment, historical approach and political context are only some of the factors to consider in appreciating, in all its complexity and diversity, the notion of an independent publisher. Independent publishers in Chile, France, Benin, Lebanon, or India work in specific contexts that have direct consequences on their activities. However, although the situation differs from one country to another, it is possible to agree on some criteria in order to define what is an independent publisher. Independent publishers develop their editorial policy freely, autonomously, and without external interference. They are not the mouthpieces for a political party, religion, institution, communication group, or company. The structure of capital and the shareholders identity also affect their independence : the takeover of publishing houses by big companies not linked to publishing and implementation of profit-driven policies often result in a loss of independence and a shift in publishing orientation. Independent publishers, as defined by the Alliance’s publishers, are originating publishers : through their often-innovative publishing choices, freedom of speech, publishing and financial risk-taking, they participate in discussions, distribution, and development of their readers’ critical thinking. In this regard, they are key players in bibliodiversity.

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Bibliodiversity

Bibliodiversity is cultural diversity applied to the world of books. Echoing biodiversity, it refers to the critical diversity of products (books, scripts, eBooks, apps, and oral literature) made available to readers. Bibliodiversity is a complex, self-sustaining system of storytelling, writing, publishing, and other kinds of production of oral and written literature. The writers and producers are comparable to the inhabitants of an ecosystem. Bibliodiversity contributes to a thriving life of culture and a healthy eco-social system. While large publishers do contribute to publishing diversity through the quantitative importance of their production, it is not enough to guarantee bibliodiversity, which is not only measured by the number of titles available.
Independent publishers, even if they consider their publishing houses’ economic balance, are above all concerned with the content of published products. Independent publishers’ books bring a different outlook and voice, as opposed to the more standardised publications offered by major groups. Independent publishers’ books and other products and their preferred diffusion channels (independent booksellers, among others) are therefore essential to preserve and strengthen plurality and the diffusion of ideas. The word bibliodiversity was invented by Chilean publishers, during the creation of the “Editores independientes de Chile” collective in the late 1990s. The International Alliance of independent publishers significantly contributed to the diffusion and promotion of this notion in several languages, including through the Dakar Declaration (2003), Guadalajara Declaration (2005), Paris Declaration (2007) and Cape Town Declaration (2014). Since 2010, International Bibliodiversity Day is celebrated on 21 September.

See the article « Bibliodiversity » on Wikipedia.
The article also exists in French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The bibliodiversity, in pictures !

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Predation

Container full of books inundating the market, books produced in another cultural setting given away free to readers or public libraries, the setup of local branches by publishing groups from abroad aiming to achieve monopoly conditions… Drawing on some examples of practices with damaging consequences to the publishing market in developing countries, Étienne Galliand (founder of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers) presents an overview of the predation to which emerging markets are subjected directly or indirectly. An edifying panorama.

As a complement to this article, you can consult the Guidelines for Fair Publishing Partnerships (in French).

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The “Fair Trade Book”

The label “Fair Trade Book” is attributed by the International Alliance of independent publishers to works published in the context of international publishing agreements that respect each other’s particularities : fair co- publishing. These fair copublishings enable the sharing of costs linked to intellectual and physical production of books and therefore ensure an economy of scale ; an exchange of professional know-how and a common experience, while respecting the publishers’ cultural contexts and identities ; and a distribution of works on a broader scale by adjusting prices for each geographic zone. The label “Fair Trade Book” is a symbol of this solidarity amongst publishers – solidarity which also indirectly mobilises readers : if a book is sold for 20 Euros in France, it can be bought at half this price in West Africa, for instance.

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Fair speech

The notion of fair speech expands the idea of ‘free speech’ to incorporate the concept of justice. Indeed, in a context of media concentration, dominant powers (whether political, economic, religious, ideological, etc.) are the most represented and heard (because they are powerful or loud). Fair speech fosters speech equity for other voices that are often marginalised and/or censored to be heard. Fair speech therefore promotes an equitable access to expression (for example for women, historically marginalised groups, etc.), enabling an authentic diversity of voices. This concept was created by Betty McLellan in Unspeakable (Spinifex Press, 2010, Australia) and promoted by Susan Hawthorne in Bibliodiversity : A Manifesto for Independent Publishing (Spinifex Press, 2014, Australia).

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