US publishers demand an end to the Book Embargo Against Cuba

The American delegates included authors, publishers, distributors, literary agents, service providers, consultants, and independent booksellers. Cuba was represented by officials from the Cuban Book Institute, the Ministry of Culture, and the Cuban Writers Association, as well as by Cuban authors, publishers, academics, and students.

The undersigned companies and individuals-drawn from the American delegation as well as other leading U.S. publishing industry participants-hereby call upon the U.S. Congress and President Obama to lift the economic embargo against Cuba as it pertains to books and educational materials. This call is consistent with the will of the American people, who, according to 2015 Gallup and Pew polls, overwhelmingly support the elimination of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

Our position:

We ask Congress and the president to lift the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba related to the production, distribution, and sale of books and educational materials.The U.S. trade embargo is harmful to book culture and runs counter to American ideals of free expression.Books are catalysts for greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression, and positive social change.Cuba boasts a rich and proud literary tradition with much to contribute to book culture.Cuba's adult literacy rate-nearly 100%-is among the highest in the world.Exciting commercial opportunities exist for the American and Cuban publishing communities to collaborate for the benefit of readers and writers everywhere.The American book publishing community stands ready to help Cuba's writers and publishers gain access to the global book market, and to help the Cuban people gain greater access to the amazing diversity of books published by American publishers.Signed,

Leylha Ahuile, PromoLatino*Raymond Ambriano, Meadows Wye Logistics*Dwight Baker, Baker Publishing Group*Angela Bole, Independent Book Publishers AssociationTodd Bottorff, Turner Publishing CompanyCharles Brownstein, Comic Book Legal Defense FundCevin Bryerman, Publishers Weekly*Leslie Budewitz, Sisters in CrimeDiana Calice, Independent Publishers Group*Cecilia de la Campa, Writers House*George Coe, Baker & Taylor*Mark Coker, Smashwords*Markus Dohle, Penguin Random HouseRandy Dotinga, American Society of Journalists and AuthorsJane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary ManagementBrent Farmer, Charlesbridge PublishingTerrance Finley, Books-A-MillionJane Friedman, Open Road Integrated MediaJanet Fritsch, American Collective Stand*Kenneth Fund, Quarto Publishing Group USA*David George, California Writers ClubDiane Kelly, Romance Writers of AmericaMark Kuyper, BISGMichael Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada, San Francisco Writers ConferenceAdam Lerner, Lerner Publishing Group*Karen Lotz McMillen, Candlewick Press and Walker BooksJon Malinowski, Combined Book Exhibit*Joe Matthews, Independent Publishers Group*Stephen Blake Mettee, Hummingbird Digital Media*Jim Milliot, Publishers WeeklyKristin Norell, individual*Keith Ogorek, Author Solutions*Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly MediaClaribel Ortega, Combined Book Exhibit*Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop & Cafe*Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book GroupCarl Pritzkat, BookLifeJohn Quatrocchi, Albert Whitman & Co.*Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks*Mary Rasenberger, Authors GuildCalvin N. Reid Jr., Publishers Weekly*Carolyn Reidy, Simon & SchusterSteven Rosato, individual*Susanah Scally, Meadows Wye Logistics*James Schmelzer, Publishers' Services International*Rudy Shur, Square One PublishersGeorge Slowik Jr., Publishers WeeklyOren Teicher, American Booksellers AssociationGregg Wilhem, individual*Ray Wolf, Fox Chapel Publishing*Steven Zacharius, Kensington Publishing

* Members of the U.S. publishing mission to Cuba

Join the effort to end the trade embargo on books and educational materials by signing their petition today.

This article appeared in the 14/03/2016 issue of Publishers Weekly here