Digital publishing news and views from the Firsty Group

Interviews Bridget Shine

Published by FirstyNews

Bridget Shine, Executive Director – Independent Publishers Guild (IPG)

The IPG turned 50 last year, with membership at an all-time high and the service offered as popular as ever – if not more so, as publishing squares up to dramatic changes in the industry.

It’s perhaps fitting that we conducted this interview shortly after the memorial service for Tim Rix who, as the IPG’s Honorary President from 1994 to 2007, helped it become the vibrant trade organisation it is today. “When I wrote to IPG members last November to tell them of Tim’s death,” Bridget said, “I received countless emails remarking on his energy, his generosity with his time and knowledge… one mentioned his ‘extraordinary contacts’ – and certainly, it is thanks to Tim that the IPG has a London office within Yale University Press.”

Bridget’s career in book publishing has included working with Crown House Publishing, followed by stints with a literary agency, Academic Press and the Welsh Books Council. Taking up her current post in 2004, she has been inspired by the camaraderie among members and their generosity in sharing information and ideas. This spirit has helped her shape the IPG’s role in supporting publishers as they tackle the digital challenges ahead. At the IPG’s digital quarterly meetings (DQMs), now in their 4th year, there is invariably standing room only. “Digital is at the heart of every publisher’s business now – previously, it was usually just the academic and professional publishers who were exploring digital opportunities. The monetisation of digital content remains a burning issue for all publishers.”

The DQMs are among the 15 events that the IPG runs annually, in addition to its collective stands at the London and Frankfurt Books Fairs. Its flagship events – the IPG Conference and Independent Publisher Awards – are now just a few weeks away, and attendance looks like being the biggest yet. The most recent addition to the IPG calendar is ‘Meet the Investors’, an event where members seeking investment meet potential investors. “We held the inaugural meeting this month,” Bridget told us, “and it was a great success!”

And her overall goal for the IPG? “To continue to be the go-to place for independent publishers – to be absolutely relevant to them and to reflect their interests whether they are international heavyweights, medium-sized independents or just setting up.”

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