In this edited extract from a presentation at the IPG’s recent AGM, chief executive Bridget Shine looks forward to the rest of 2017
It’s fair to say that 2016 was a momentous year—and not for all the right reasons. But the way in which the IPG and independent publishers have responded to the slings and arrows that have come our way has shown why this is such a great industry to be in.
Brexit was a seismic shock for most—though not all of us, and we have struggled to come to terms with what it might mean for publishing. But as luck would have it, the IPG had a Digital and Marketing Quarterly meeting scheduled for just one week after the vote last June, and we jumped into action by adding on a special Brexit discussion to try to thrash out some of the issues and the ways forward for independent publishers. It was typical of IPG members to be so quick off the mark and so willing to put their heads together, and a great example of how the IPG can facilitate really useful conversations.
Brexit aside, 2016 turned into a pretty decent year for publishing, with a very healthy increase in print book sales. Likewise it has been another year of growth for the IPG: we are now well past 600 members, and staged our biggest ever Autumn Conference late last year—followed soon into 2017 by our very well-received Annual Spring Conference
. With regular Quarterly Meetings, Meet the Buyers days, book fair stands and dinners for our special interest groups, there are even more events
to look forward to in 2017.
A big focus of the IPG’s attention this year is training. We have been delighted to launch the IPG Foundation, which has been set up to help the professional development of all IPG members, and to encourage the next generation of independent publishers in particular. Very soon we will launch the IPG Skills Hub
, and we’re really excited about the potential for this to become the very heart of the IPG—a place to pick up knowledge and skills and pass on your own.
There are more exciting developments to come in 2017, including some new regional events that we hope will prove popular with members who are not always able to attend our Conference or our London meetings.
None of this work would be possible without all the wonderful publishers and consultants on the IPG board
who do so much to steer the IPG—to Martin Casimir, Jill Coleman, Hazel Cushion, Caroline De La Bedoyere, Oliver Gadsby, John Hudson, Alison Jones, Mairi Kidd, Lynette Owen, Amanda Ridout, Robin Wood and James Woollam, our new IPG chair for 2017. They are all very busy people who give freely of their time to help us, and we are very grateful for their support—as we are to our brilliant president, Jonathan Harris, who is a superb ambassador for the IPG and everything we could wish a president to be. Thanks too to our group of IPG patrons;
to all those who help in our work, including the sponsors of our events and Awards; and of course to the hard-working IPG team: Angela Stanley, Charly Salvesen-Ford, Imogen Race, Charlotte Butler, Emily Cook and Tom Holman.
Above all of course, we are grateful to our members, without whom the IPG simply wouldn’t exist. We value your support hugely, and it was a great pleasure to be in your company in a turbulent 2016. The rollercoaster ride seems likely to continue in 2017—but as last year showed, we all only thrive on the uncertainty and challenges.