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HomeNewsInternational Update: Books Create Australia's Election Agenda; Sharjah's Booksellers Conference

International Update: Books Create Australia’s Election Agenda; Sharjah’s Booksellers Conference

In anticipation of upcoming elections, Books Create Australia, the joint book industry platform of authors, librarians, booksellers and publishers, has prepared an agenda of outcomes and policy changes that will benefit the country’s writers, publishers, booksellers, libraries and readers. 

“The most important outcome is that Australia remains a nation of readers,” BCA noted. “Reading is a habit that pays personal, educational, civic, and economic dividends to both the individual reader and the country–and our leaders play a vital role in growing and supporting a reading nation…. We need a national plan, a pipeline for new Australian stories, sustainable careers for our writers. We need to take Australian stories to the world through a modern Australian book industry, and we believe that Australian content in schools is vital.”

Books Create Australia partners are focusing on seven recommendations for government:

  1. Develop a national plan for books and reading.
  2. Fund an ongoing national reading campaign.
  3. Increase grant funds for new writing, new talent and First Nations’ stories. 
  4. Reform Lending Rights, including boosting funding.
  5. Fund a whole-of-industry digitized supply chain and data solution.
  6. Help take Australian voices to the world and support the development of global markets.
  7. Mandate Australian content in schools and provide more support for school libraries.

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More than 200 booksellers, distributors and publishers from the Middle East, the South Asian subcontinent and African countries will gather in the UAE city of Sharjah for the inaugural Booksellers Conference. Organized by the Sharjah Book Authority, the conference will be held May 15-16, alongside the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, at the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone. 

Highlighting the historical role of booksellers in fostering a culture of reading in their communities, among other key topics, the conference has been designed “to encourage best practice sharing, and enable an in-depth analysis of current trends across several domains that impact bookselling, namely, digital strategies, stakeholder relationships, stock curation and presentation, customer engagement and new business models,” organizers said. 

“It is a matter of pride for Sharjah and SBA to be hosting the first-ever booksellers conference in the world,” said HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of SBA. “I’m delighted to see that our collaborative efforts have successfully created an exclusive platform for booksellers from the region and around the world to network, exchange ideas and expertise and explore new business opportunities…. Joining our existing offerings of professional programs for publishers and librarians, this event will also allow booksellers from across the region to seek new books for their stores and communities.” 

Mansour Al Hassani, head of the sales department at SBA, noted: “Sharjah’s leading cultural project turns a new leaf with the debut of the Booksellers Conference. The role played by booksellers is vital to the sustainability and future growth of the publishing industry, and with fast-changing consumer needs, booksellers need to continue updating their skills. This event is poised to provide actionable information useful for both new and experienced stores. We are confident that the conference will offer everything the regional and global bookselling community has come to expect.”  

RISE Bookselling’s Booksellers Exchange Program has opened the first application round, which runs from May 2-29. All interested booksellers can apply by downloading and completing the application form and returning to info@risebookselling.eu.

Launched last month by the European and International Booksellers Federation, RISE Bookselling is a training and network initiative for booksellers and the wider bookselling industry. This a network program, open to all members of the EIBF, including the American Booksellers Association and U.S. booksellers.

The Booksellers Exchange Program’s goal is to connect booksellers with colleagues and industry experts around the world, enabling them to share experiences and explore new initiatives within the industry. All selected participants will be granted a three-day stay in a bookshop abroad, working at a foreign colleague’s shop and learn the practicalities of the book trade in the host country. In 2022, the first round exchanges take place this summer, while second round applications will open August 20, with exchanges taking place in the autumn. —Robert Gray