IPAC founder Simon Appleby, Director of Bookswarm, talks about the inspiration behind IPAC.

IPAC is a group of independent experts offering a comprehensive list of services for publishers and the book trade. Each member of IPAC is a specialist in their individual area of expertise and has a track record of delivering bespoke and cost-effective services. As well as working individually, we also work collectively and can offer multi-service packages and deals.

Between them IPAC’s members cover marketing, publicity, event management, app and ebook creation, editorial, production and much more.

IPAC was born from a conversation I had with Alastair Giles, Director of Agile Marketing. I have long been a believer in the power of collaboration, and the publishing trade has many excellent examples, including the IPG and the Independent Alliance. However we wanted to create something which was designed around suppliers to the world of publishing, rather than publishers themselves. We also wanted to turn our informal and overlapping networks in to a more organised grouping, and see where closer co-operation might lead.

IPAC’s combined client list includes all of the big three trade houses, along with academic and STM publishing, independents, authors and charities. You name a publisher and one of our members is likely to have worked with them and have connections there, which is good for all of us.

We’re keen to grow the level of day-to-day member interaction too. IPAC members have access to a Slack group to facilitate inter-member communication. We use it plan collaborations, perform due diligence on potential clients, share our latest work, ask for recommendations or invite other IPAC members to your events.

IPAC membership is free. We only charge members for participating in specific, optional opportunities – such as our shared London Book Fair stand, which we have done for the last four years and which gets better every year! We organised a presence for some of our members at Bye The Book’s Confluence event in Spring 2019, and we’re exploring other opportunities as well.

As publishing continues to evolve, I hope that IPAC will be a force for good, helping members keep pace with that change and, in turn, continue to help publishing clients get great work from independent suppliers.

Simon Appleby is the founder and Managing Director of Bookswarm, the only digital agency in the UK dedicated to delivering projects for publishers, authors and others in the world of books.

Simon has spoken at the Publishing Scotland conference and the Faber Factory conference, contributed to the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, and created and delivered a course on digital project development for the Publishing Training Centre.