Posted by Bobby on Wed 6th April 2011 | 1 comment
Before coming into this role as Consultant Development Manager for Dipnet and Booktrust, I had a long hard think about whether diversity in publishing was still an issue. My rationale was that I couldn’t do this job well if I didn’t believe in what I was doing, especially as part of my role would be to convince other organisations to come on board and discuss their plans for equality and diversity. I’ve had quite a varied career in publishing, over six years now and at several different houses, so I’ve had lots of experiences, some which have been great, and some not so great, which is life rather than a reflection of the industry.
One particular memory sticks in the mind. One time I was working at a publishing house, having a chat with someone who works in sales. A nice conversation about the things I’ve read, and the things I was working on. Then, out of the blue, full of an earnest curiosity, the person said:
‘Do Asian people read books?’
After my jaw bounced back from the floor, I squeaked out a barely audible, ‘Yes, of course they do.’ The conversation ended soon after.
Now this isn’t intended to shock or surprise. My point is rather to underline the importance of this conversation as why we need to continue ensuring that publishing becomes more equal and diverse, just so we can get past those awkward moments and focus on what’s most important: books, readers and staying in business.
Publishing has come a long way since I started, but like any industry, change takes decades and is tightly woven into the fabric of the economy. The statistics will tell you one story, the liberal campaigners will make you feel one feeling, but change, real change that is lasting and inspiring, will only come from individuals sitting down in their offices and their homes and having a long think about where they are and where they’d like to be. And that’s where Dipnet comes in, to help make that change easier, and start new conversations.