Pat Schroeder Closes the Book on Her Time With the AAP: A Q&A With the Outgoing President of the Largest Association for Book Publishers
Extra: How can publishers embrace digitization and new technologies, but also protect their copyright?
Schroeder: Well, we started that at the very beginning of my term at AAP by working very hard to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [which, among other provisions, made it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures built into most commercial software]. And we continue to stay very involved legislatively and also with the technology, to learn what's going on and how to protect ourselves. So everybody's working hard on it, trying to stay ahead of the curve. And, of course, an association is the perfect place to do that, because people don't have time to spend hours and hours and hours on their own doing it. So it's a good place to work together cooperatively to do these things. And that's what I think we're going to see lots more of.
Extra: How does the effort to improve literacy mesh with digital advancements in publishing? Can both efforts expand publishers' audiences, or will one effort thwart the other?
Schroeder: No, no, no. Both efforts, obviously, can run on a parallel track, and they do complement each other. Being literate is the on-ramp to the digital revolution. People who think you don't have to read because everything's now digital obviously have no clue that with digital, you have to read. So literacy is terribly important, I think, and more and more important. One of the great shames of this country has been that we haven't done a better job on literacy. ... One of my frustrations has been—as you know, we have a strong school division at AAP—and then, every now and then, we encounter school boards or legislators who think, “Well, gee. We'll just get every kid a computer and then we won't have to have teachers and schools and all this expensive stuff.” And you're kind of like, “What?” They just totally missed the point.
Extra: What plans do you have for life after the AAP?
Schroeder: ... I really don't have a game plan, which no one believes. I have always left knowing what I was going to do next. And this time, I don't. So, I guess the time has come to relax a bit. ... I don't know if [gardening and grandparenting] is going to solve it for me or not. ... I'll tell you what I'm not going to do: I don't want anymore 24/7 jobs, you know, where I'm managing something. If I do something, it would be like speaking or teaching, or not being in charge of something totally.