Happy International Day of Bibliodiversity

I’VE ONLY just become aware that today is the International Day of Bibliodiversity, thanks to Susan Hawthorne of Spinifex Press and the wonderful cartoonist and illustrator, Judy Horacek, who drew this logo for the Day on the right.

What is bibliodiversity? It’s a bit like cultural diversity, as far as I can gather. Imagine all the books you read coming from the same types of publishers, authors and cultures. Bibliodiversity, a term originally coined by Spanish-speaking independent publishers, is about encouraging more variety in publishing and more publishers, lest we simply leave it to the large British, US, Spanish and German multinationals that bestride the book world like colossi.

The day is being pushed by the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, an organisation I am ashamed to say I know very little about. Its website says:

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 45 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.

Doesn’t sound like a bad idea, does it? Australian members of the Alliance include Spinifex and Pluto Press.

So, what should you do today to celebrate bibliodiversity? Well, if you value plurality in publishing, whether you’re a reader, a librarian, a teacher or a bookseller, try and make your next book purchase from an independent press. In Australia, a good place to start is the SPUNC website.

Me, I’m going to find out more about this Alliance. Given Wilkins Farago‘s commitment to bringing authors from other languages into English, maybe we should be joining, or at least saying hello. In the meantime, enjoy this video produced for the Day: