Call for tender – A study on digital publishing and developing countries

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Call for tender – A study on digital publishing and developing countries

samy boutayeb
Call for tender – A study on digital publishing and
developing countries
International Alliance of Independent Publishers – July 2010

Background and aim of the study
• The main aim of the “Digital Publishing and Developing Countries”
programme, undertaken by the International Alliance of Independent
Publishers in partnership with the Prince Claus Foundation, seeks to
“determine digital publishing’s role as a future publishing resource in
developing countries.” It consists of four consecutive phases to span
over the next three years (2010-2012). The first phase of the programme
consists of performing a study that would serve to both address some
basic questions regarding the general thrust and lay the groundwork for
future phases.

Introduction of programme partners
• International Alliance of Independent publishers

Founded in 2002, the International Alliance of Independent Publishers is
a non-profit association which coordinates an international network
comprising 85 publishing houses and groups of publishers from 47
countries. The Alliance organizes international meeting and carries out
advocacy work to foster independence. It also backs international
publishing projects — in the form of assistance with translation or
co-publishing. Finally, the Alliance contributes to the promotion and
diffusion of productions from the South to the North and modestly tries
to invert one-way trade flows. The Alliance thus contributes to
enhancing the accessibility of works and ideas, to defending and
promoting bibliodiversity.

Prince Claus Fund (

Culture is a Basic Need: The Prince Claus Fund actively seeks
international cultural collaborations with partners of excellence in
spaces of need. The Prince Claus Fund provides immediate cultural rescue
as well as support to sustainable cultural processes. It takes
initiatives to raise awareness on the importance of culture in everyday
life and for development. The Fund works in the spirit of Prince Claus’
belief that one cannot develop people, but people develop themselves.
The Prince Claus Fund is based in Amsterdam and is supported by the
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Study Specifications: Potential Structure
The study could be geared around three main aims: 1. Firstly, it should
provide a concise overview of digital publishing in developing or
emerging countries.
• What initiatives are already in place in developing countries? Who are
the main players? What initial conclusions can we draw from what we have
observed? Is there a specific trend in emerging economies (Brazil,
Russia, India, China, Mexico, South Africa), as there is for other
economic activities in which digital technology is used? If so, what
main conclusions can we draw from what we have observed? Is there a
growing divide separating those developing countries that are more and
more involved in digital book publishing and those developing countries
that would be isolated by or possibly indifferent to the digital
publishing revolution?

2. It would therefore be useful to establish, through a forward-looking
approach, the overall outcomes and possible scenarios.
• If there is a growing divide or indifference in developing countries,
what are the possible risks tied to this situation? Could established
publishing groups from developing countries possibly be compromised by
the digitisation of content? Under what conditions could digital
publishing play a role for publishers in developing countries similar to
that of mobile telephony, as an instrument of change (a new technology
that closes an existing gap in development due to a lack of
infrastructure and raw materials)? Taking into account that e-readers
and similar products are largely produced, sold and used in developed
countries, can digital publishing fulfil readers’ needs, whether for
education or for leisure, in developing countries? Is the personal
computer the “musthave” device in this context? Since the main problem
facing publishing in developing countries is weak demand (“lack of
readers”), will the virtualisation of content and its “portability” help
publishers in developing countries to reach new markets and readers more
easily? Does digital publishing offer an opportunity for
bibliodiversity, especially for publishers and content in developing
countries? It is one among many new tools that help publishers to
address their usual problems linked to geographical, political,
economical and developmental contexts: lack or expense of raw materials
(paper, for example), lack of infrastructure or its inefficiency in
handling elements of the business (printing, for example), narrow and
inexperienced distribution networks, the expense of advertising and
marketing etc. From another vantage point, which sectors would see
little or no effect from the digitisation of content in developing
countries, in areas such as creative output and prepress?

How do different scenarios relate to the following: 1) a structural lag
in publishing which is never overcome and that leads to the isolation of
a developing country (it then becomes a “paper zone”, further reducing
their content availability in information and educational systems across
the globe, or 2) rapid technological development that is specifically
tailored to developing countries.

3. Lastly, given 1) the actual conditions in the field; 2) the possible
outcomes at this time; 3) the types of partners in the field, we prefer
finishing the study with a phase comprised of in-depth consideration of
recommendations and proposals.
• What proposals will be made to the Digital Publishing and Developing
Countries programme partners, bearing in mind that the next phases of
the programme offered by the Alliance will take shape during
international and interprofessional trade fairs as well as a life-size
test (digital publishing or joint digital publishing involving
publishers from developing countries)? What recommendations would you
make to publishers from developing countries? To encourage cooperation
among publishers, what cooperative efforts should be organised within
the Alliance’s network (eventually involving publishers from developing
countries and those from developed countries, to share technology and
know-how, for example)? And in general, what proposals could be made to
international organisations (UNESCO, CERLALC etc) and to authorities in
developing countries to encourage understanding (and even development)
of digitisation of publishing?

Study Specifications: Systematic Structure
Specific studies that could form chapters of the overall study, by
geographic area or region (Africa, Latin America, and Asia); An
overview, analysing the entire study in a few pages; Short articles
describing the work in progress, particularly surprising or original
developments etc; A final document in digital form, as well as in its
printed form, where applicable, will include all of the analyses,
appendices etc. This report could be part of the “Reports on the
Publishing World” published by the Alliance or could be used in whole or
in part to contribute to the Alliance’s online resources (the “Analysis”
and/or “E-learning” columns); The entire budget for all phases of the
study should be between €6,000 and €10,000.

• If this study interests you, please apply by 29/08/2010.
• Applicants should preferably, but not necessarily, be able to speak
and write in both French and English (and possibly Spanish), a grasp of
one of the two languages is sufficient.
• Applications shall comprise the following elements, to be e-mailed to
[hidden email]: o a letter of introduction; o a proposal
for the implementation of the study; o an estimated budget proposal for
the completion of the study, itemised if possible by cost centres; o a
provisional project schedule.
• There are no prior restrictions on candidates, though they could be
asked to provide billing information according to French legal
requirements, and paid in royalties if their work is eventually
published etc. Selection of the candidate will take place via a
committee composed of Thierry Quinqueton (Alliance Chairman) and
Laurence Hugues (Alliance Director), Serge Dontchueng Kouam
(French-language Network Coordinator for the Alliance), a representative
of the Prince Claus Foundation, and Étienne Galliand (Double
Ponctuation). The committee will make its selection prior to 20/09/2010
and will inform the candidates of their decision while not required to
explain the reasons behind their decision.

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