Alain Gründ, former president of the International Publishers Association, died July 14. He was 83. Gründ took over the family business, Editions Gründ, from his father in 1963 and managed the company until he sold it to Editis in 2007. At various times in his career, he served as head of Syndicat National de l'Édition (the French publishers association), the Federation of European Publishers, the IPA and the International Bureau of French Publishing.
"The IPA is built on publishers who have dedicated so much of their lives to bringing us, as an international community, together," said current president Bodour Al Qasimi. "If I am able to be president of IPA today, it is thanks to the stewardship and leadership of people like Alain. His shared legacy stands as fitting testament for the sector he dedicated his life to."
Hugo Setzer, immediate past IPA president, paid tribute to Gründ: "I met Alain during the time of his IPA presidency and admired him for his intelligence and humbleness. He was thoughtful and resolved. Alain was tough on problems but soft with people. He was a true gentleman. It was in my early days in IPA and I looked up to him and thought that perhaps one day I might also become president, like him. He was a role model to me and in time became a cherished friend. He will be dearly missed."
As a tribute to Gründ's memory, the IPA has brought forward the release of the first chapter of The Fifth Quarter Century: The International Publishers Association 1996-2021 by Setzer, who noted: "I interviewed Alain as I prepared to write this book which tells the story of IPA during the last 25 years and this first chapter tells the story of Alain's period as president, the challenges he had to face, as well as his many achievements. I hope you will enjoy reading it."
FEP director Anne Bergman-Tahon told the Bookseller she remembered "a man devoted to the cause of books, particularly to fixed book price and copyright. Alain Gründ laid the foundations of the FEP which, more than 30 years later, remains the voice of European publishers in Brussels and Strasbourg. On behalf of the colleagues of the FEP, our board and in a personal capacity, I salute a personality who has marked our sector and contributed to its recognition. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife and family."
Richard Charkin of Mensch Publishing also paid tribute, recalling Gründ's role as an active member of the advisory board of the Frankfurt Book Fair: "He was quite silent for most of the meetings but would then pop up with what can only be described a 'le mot juste'.... We shall all miss his verve, his sly sense of humor and his presence at book fairs and wherever international publishing was being discussed."