Book publishers for a stronger, better New Zealand
Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu
The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ) is an incorporated society representing 80 trade, educational and digital publishers, and suppliers and consultants to the industry. Our members are local independents and large international publishers, educational and trade publishers, publishers for adults and for children — creating more than 2600 new, locally produced titles a year.
Book publishing in New Zealand
Book publishing has weathered the COVID-19 storm, and now faces significant uncertainty and changes to the way we operate. At the same time there is surging interest in books written by and about New Zealanders.
Locally published books contribute to both New Zealand society and economic activity. Book reading is an internationally recognised indicator of social wellbeing, and has assumed even greater importance as people have stayed home. The pandemic has strained supply chains, never more so than when Kiwis were unable to purchase from local booksellers under Level 4 restrictions.
The book industry generated $292 million from sales of 21 million books in 2019, and employed an estimated 2500 people. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer print books, which account for 93% of book sales. Educational and trade publishers embrace digital — including ebooks, licensed platforms, online marketing and ecommerce — but the investment this requires is not easily recouped.
Meanwhile, digital visibility has grown in importance as sales meetings and business travel have suffered. PANZ applauds the adaptability of Creative New Zealand in managing international literary activity in this context, and the thinking Education New Zealand is bringing to models for export of educational content.
PANZ is implementing plans to make publishing more sustainable and diverse. We aim to leverage the disruption caused by the pandemic to adapt to a world of climate change and greater social inclusion. We enjoin the government to work closely with PANZ and our partners — Booksellers New Zealand, New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA), the Coalition for Books, Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ), Read NZ and WeCreate — to support the sector’s contribution to New Zealand’s cultural and economic wellbeing.
SPECIFICALLY, WE SEEK GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO:
1. Navigate COVID-19 and its aftermath
Publishers were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, unable to sell books either via retail or in schools during the Level 4 lockdown in March– April 2020. Since then PANZ has made repeated representations to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and politicians seeking the classification of books as essential items under all alert levels. Our members welcome the proactive support of the ministries of Social Development and Culture and Heritage, and seek further engagement so as to preserve jobs and livelihoods across the sector.
PANZ has collaborated with sector partners, developing an industry response to COVID-19 that identifies priorities and activities to support publishers, booksellers, festivals and authors. This includes taking a strategic approach to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme, and investing significant resources to support these applications and provide robust data to government. PANZ requests that MCH continues to engage with the sector as future COVID Recovery Programme funding rounds are developed and that relevant criteria help the sector to thrive over this period.
2. Strengthen copyright law
The New Zealand publishing industry must be underpinned by copyright legislation that is fit for purpose in the digital age. Good copyright law enables authors and publishers to be rewarded for their creativity and hard work, and ensures readers of all kinds can access locally produced and relevant content.
PANZ and its members continue to contribute substantial time and energy to the Review of the Copyright Act, working closely alongside sector colleagues NZSA and CLNZ. These organisations have recently launched the Creative Rights = Creative Reads campaign to help New Zealanders understand the ways in which rights fuel the sector and contribute to Aotearoa more broadly. Visit the campaign website at www.creativerights.nz to learn why creative rights, like copyright, are so important to this country’s authors and publishers.
3. Improve Ministry of Education liaison with publishers
Educational publishers provide New Zealand Curriculum-aligned materials to schools, to support the needs of all students and teachers. Changes at the Ministry of Education over recent years have made communications difficult at times. We seek a stable, transparent system to provide guidance about the latest Ministry thinking and any changes to the Curriculum. This will give clarity and certainty for the work of educational publishers.
4. Accelerate development of export markets
PANZ works closely with government agencies including Creative NZ, Education NZ and MFAT to develop international markets for New Zealand authors, illustrators and other creatives. Travel restrictions have obliged publishers to move to virtual platforms for participation at international book fairs and conferences, yet these have limitations. In particular, we ask that government re-engages purposefully to support an in- market presence for the multimillion-dollar educational book sector, and assist us in the evolution of hybrid virtual-physical models for international marketing events.
5. Recognise and support creative sector growth
PANZ, along with organisations from the music, film and TV, games, design and other creative industries, is a member of WeCreate. We must ensure that the public and the government see that growth in exports for the country. PANZ supports the goals for the creative sector that are outlined in the WeCreate Action Plan.
For further information and enquiries, contact:
Catriona Ferguson, Association Director
09 280 3212