Catherine Clarke M.d., Felicity Bryan Associates/president, AAA
Unpredictable events can blindside us all, and we have to adapt. As an industry we are pulling together in important ways to make sure we are resilient, by drawing on a wide pool of talent. In February, the first OpenBooks careers day will take place online, organised and sponsored by passionate and committed people in the Association of Authors’ Agents, the PA, the BA, many publishers, Arts Council England and The Bookseller, to open up careers in the books industry to state school pupils across the country. I predict that will have positive effects for years to come, especially if we can make it happen regularly.
We are collecting data on our members’ workforces, so we have a true and representative picture of who we are in this books industry, and where we need to focus in order to achieve change for the better. We are co-operating on the pressing and thorny issue of sustainability in a business heavily reliant on paper—though not forgetting to celebrate the fact that books have a long life and can give pleasure and education for generations, whether at home or in our vital and underfunded public and school libraries. The research shows that books really do improve lives.
And fundamentally, we must all nurture the writers, from all backgrounds, who are the lifeblood of everything we do—and that means campaigning to ensure their copyrights continue to be protected and that they are all paid fairly.