President of the newly revived Caribbean Association of Publishers Network (CAPNET) Neysha Soodeen is warning regional publishers that the industry will only survive if they cooperate much more and keep abreast of international trends.
Soodeen, who is also the Managing Director of the Trinidad and Tobago-based Toute Bagai Publishing Company, best known for its MACO publications, said the publishing industry is facing several challenges with old business models crumbling. She said there is an urgent need for a re-thinking of the strategies for guiding the industry in the future.
“With the Caribbean publishing industry being challenged on so many levels, I feel it is now more important than ever to create a stronger organization to lobby for publishers and publishing service providers across the region,” she said in a statement welcoming the revival of CAPNET.
CAPNET is a Pan-Caribbean, non-profit network of Caribbean publishers and publishing industry service providers, created to support and promote indigenous publishing throughout the region.
The organisation provides a forum for exchange of information among publishing professionals and sets standards for quality in editorial, design and manufacturing of books, magazines and journals in both printed and electronic formats. It also assists members by providing training, joint marketing at both the regional and international levels and representation on various regional and international organizations.
Soodeen said in spite of the economic environment, new opportunities were emerging for small publishers to market themselves to the global community. But she insists that there is need for greater cooperation in order to survive.
“Caribbean publishers are just as capable of publishing any form of print and web as foreign concerns and it is annoying when we hear Caribbean government agencies award publishing contracts to foreign companies.
“On one hand, governments are pumping more money into scholarships for careers and degrees in mass communication, graphic arts and other publishing related fields, but on the other hand they are not providing the support to indigenous publishing companies which will be the source of employment for such graduates,” the CAPNET President lamented.
She said that small indigenous companies that comprise the Caribbean publishing industry were at risk of being outbid by larger, international companies.
“Those of us who work in and rely on the publishing and related industries need to band together to improve our cost efficiencies, market our products collectively and keep up with international trends to survive. We therefore see a vital role for CAPNET in making representation wherever possible on behalf of those vulnerable and struggling concerns,” Soodeen added.
Buoyed by a new lease on life, the publishing body will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary in March 2011 at the Kingston Book festival in Jamaica. As part of the event, CAPNET will host a number of workshops on digital publishing and marketing which will help furnish Caribbean publishers with the tools needed to keep up with international publishing trends.
CAPNET recognizes publishing as a cultural enterprise and aims to contribute to the socio-economic and cultural development of the Caribbean.
Membership is open to any individual, company, institution or agency located in any country bordered by the Caribbean Sea and engaged in the publication of, or providing services to, publishers of books, magazines, journals, educational material and multimedia works whether in printed or electronic formats.