Headlining the PANZ International Conference in June will be Hugo Setzer, Vice President of the International Publishers Association & CEO of Manual Moderno, Mexico. Hugo recently took the time from his very busy schedule to answer some questions about his role at both IPA and Manual Moderno, and issues facing the publishing industry.

You’re Vice President of the International Publishers Association. What exactly is the role of the IPA?
IPA works to defend publishers’ interests all over the world, especially the promotion of copyright and freedom to publish, along with literacy. Right now I am catching a plane to Toronto to testify on behalf of international publishers as part of the Canadian Copyright Act review. At the same time, the IPA is holding a Regional Seminar in Lagos, Nigeria, attended by our President, Michiel Kolman and our Secretary General, José Borghino.

In your day job you’re CEO of academic publisher Manual Moderno. Could you tell us a little about what that involves? 
Manual Moderno is a medium sized academic publishing house, with headquarters in Mexico City and a subsidiary office in Bogotá, Colombia. We translate many of the books we publish into Spanish, so this takes me every year to Frankfurt. But we also publish a lot of local authors and contact with them is equally important. I have a great executive team at the office, which currently allows me to dedicate more time to IPA.

Do you have a book that you’re most proud of publishing? 
Yes, though it’s not the kind of book we usually do. It is a social responsibility project we developed with teachers of a university and physicians of a hospital. It is a guide for parents with visually impaired children, so they can learn how to better attend to their needs. Thanks to the authors and our suppliers who donated their work, we could provide the hospital with 1,000 hard copies of the guide completely for free, so they could give them to families in need with a case of a visually impaired kid. It’s also available for free in digital format (click here)

Any major international trends in publishing right now that you’re able to share? 
We can see a worldwide attack on copyright. Large companies with their own interests are lobbying against copyright and many people fall for the “information for free” speech. As IPA, with our limited resources, we engage everywhere we can to help our members defend their interests and the copyright laws. Recently we had this debate in Colombia and now in Canada, where I have had the opportunity to work with our members on the ground in defence of copyright.

What are you reading right now?
I am reading Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now. Really enlightening!

The PANZ International Conference is taking place on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June 2018. Programme details are available here. Early bird rates available until 25 May. Don’t miss out book your place here.