IPA: What can be done to support publishing as a viable industry in Pakistan?
AS: The most important way to make publishing viable is to eliminate piracy and cross-border book smuggling. Courses on all aspects of publishing should be introduced in universities, to produce a corpus of trained personnel. However this can only be done if publishers’ businesses grow and more jobs are created. A network of well-managed libraries and bookshops needs to be established to improve access to books. A campaign on the importance of reading and the harmful effects of piracy would be very helpful. The state school sector should be opened up to private publishers, the monopoly of provincial textbook boards ended, and competition introduced in the supply of books to government schools; only competition drives up standards.
That is my wish list: any of these measures would give a boost to publishing in Pakistan.