According to an announcement made on the London Book Fair website some months after the latter’s closure, “The TISP network (Technology Innovation for Smart Publishing), the European project coordinated by the Italian Publishers Association which gathers 25 organizations from 12 European countries, has released a set of policy recommendations, giving the publishing and technology sectors a common base at European level to foster and sustain innovation for the first time.” The open question is whether this will have any actual influence on the development of e-publishing in Europe.

TISP brings together “the two European representative bodies of the publishing and ICT industries, FEP and DIGITALEUROPE.” ICT is a term beloved of policy-makers that seems to be rarely seen in actual IT or tech circles, and its use in this release indicates that TISP may be far from direct exposure to the tech sector. Nonetheless, according to Pierre Dutilleul, President of FEP, “Book publishers are committed to fostering innovation in the sector and embracing the digital shift in order to provide their readers with new, exciting services and products. The goal of our recommendations is to create an environment conducive to fully exploiting the potential of the integration of ICT in book publishing.”

This appears very far from any actual engagement with Amazon, epublishing formats, or anything serious about the actual technology of book production, which seems to be proceeding quite well without TISP’s involvement. Its recommendations “address policy makers looking to secure the smooth running of the markets concerned and the satisfaction of consumers, using existing instruments at their disposal. They call for more public investment, including research and development, and the allocation of project funding to support both sectors.”

It seems safe to assume that the evolution of ebooks and publishing will proceed regardless of all this. But some important bureaucratic rubber has no doubt been stamped.



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