The 33rd International Publishers Association Congress opened in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday morning with 666 registered attendees from 63 countries. Of those, 287 were from abroad with 379 coming from Indonesia. The IPA Congress is typically held every two years. This is the first in-person gathering since the 2018 Congress held in New Delhi; the 2020 Congress scheduled for Lillehammer, Norway was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The theme for this year's Congress is "Reading Matters: Embracing the Future." A dozen panel discussions are addressing a range of international issues, including how technology and surveillance impacts freedom to publish, the impact of artificial intelligence on copyright; advances in marketing and distribution, representation and diversity in literary translation, accessibility in publishing, reading promotion campaigns around the world, and more.

As the hosting country, Indonesia has made a strong push in the international publishing community in the past decade, having served as the guest of honor country at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2015 and as the market focus country at the London Book Fair in 2019. The country initially presented itself under the slogan, "17,000 Islands of the Imagination." The archipelago is the fourth most populous country in the world, with 267 million people, and the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. It has 6,500 publishers, 75% of which are on the island of Java, where Jakarta is located. Book production in the country has been on the rise, increasing from 76,000 titles in 2015 to 159,000 in 2021.

One priority of the IPA and the Congress is to express support for indigenous languages. "Indonesia has 1,300 ethnicities and 800 different languages," Arys HIilman Nugraha, president of the Indonesia Publishers Association said.

Jakarta, which has 10 million residents and is among the largest cities in the world, was named an UNESCO City of Literature in 2021, the first in southeast Asia, in part because of the presence of some 5,600 libraries in the city. Laura Bagun Prinsloo, chair of the Jakarta Book City Committee, which organized the IPA Congress, said that bringing the Congress to Jakarta, "gives the world's publishers a chance to sample all of Indonesia in one place, since all of Indonesia is represented here in Jakarta." The city of Jakarta has sponsored the event and made it free to all attendees.

The Congress marks the final year of IPA presidency for Bodour Al Quasimi of the United Arab Emirates. In her opening comments, she remarked that "publishing is interconnected and intertwined" with other industries. As such, it too is coping with post-pandemic challenges, which include supply chain disruptions and "abrupt changes in market and consumer behavior." She emphasized that publishers need to continue to be adaptable. "Upskilling" publishers in developing markets has been a focus of the IPA's post-pandemic program and the organization launched the IPA Academy, a free program of courses, developed in part with the publishing program at New York University. Karine Pansa, CEO of Girassol Brasil Edições, a children's publishing house from Brazil, takes over as IPA president on January 1, and helping publishers manage the post-pandemic marketplace is a prime objective.

The IPA issued two new awards this year, presenting the IPA Champion Award, honoring an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the IPA, to Shri Asoke K Ghosh, the president emeritus, Federation of Indian Publishers. The
IPA Innovation in Publishing Award was created "to celebrate groups or individuals that implement innovative practices in publishing that can be replicated by others to the benefit of the whole industry" and was given to the Cámara Brasileira do Livro, the Brazilian book chamber, for its support for a digital platform, launched during the pandemic, that put small and independent bookstores online and able to sell and deliver books quickly throughout the vast country.

The IPA celebrated its 150th anniversary in June 2021. To mark the occasion, former IPA president Hugo Setzer published a series of interviews with past presidents of the organization, The Fifth Quarter Century: The International Publishers Association 1996-2021 (Conecta), which the IPA is distributing at the event.