A proposal to establish the New Zealand Digital Book Centre forms the centrepiece of a submission by the Book Publishers Association (BPANZ) to the government’s Draft Digital Strategy 2.0.
The Centre will play a key role in helping New Zealand publishers develop and sell new products based on digital content. BPANZ’s submission aims to ensure that New Zealand’s local publishing community doesn’t get left behind as technology changes the way books are produced and consumed.
“The best way to do this is through collaboration,” says Martin Taylor of Addenda Publishing, one of the BPANZ Council members involved in the submission.
The Centre will allow local firms to benefit from skills and technology transfer, to network and collaborate, and to gain early access to important technology infrastructure that would be out-of-reach for most individual firms.
“Kiwi book publishers have already shown they can overcome size and distance limitations by working together. Initiatives such as the BPANZ-led shared stands at Frankfurt and other book fairs have helped create a multimillion dollar export industry that even small publishers can access.”
BPANZ also announced it will establish a Digital Publishing Action Group to spearhead collaboration across industry and government groups.
“This move will ensure our members are central players in the emerging digital publishing market, both within New Zealand and internationally,” says BPANZ President Tony Fisk. “We recognise that it’s important for book publishers to be part of the wider conversation as new opportunities and business models open up.”
This will include development of innovative digital exports and will build on existing initiatives already underway.
“Books are our most ‘exportable’ content. They have been the number one New Zealand publishing export and there’s every reason to expect that digitisation will increase that market significantly,” says Fisk.
The submission’s other proposals include opportunities to seed key markets with digital content to speed its adoption in New Zealand. The plan calls for government-led initiatives that could encourage the purchase and use of digital content in the education sector and provision of some government information. The National Library’s Delivering Digital New Zealand project is another government-led area in which a closer working relationship could assist capacity-building for the commercial publishing sector.