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The South African Department of Basic Education just released a draft policy document, open for public comment, explaining how the department plans to handle textbooks in the future. This is an important document for Booksellers and publishers to comprehend, because the situation is serious.

Arthur Atwell, the co-founder and director of Electric Book Works (and also the founder of Paperight POD bookstores) warned in his blog www.arthurattwell.com that, “It’s rare that a national industry is confronted with a single threat to its future. That just happened to South African publishing.” This piece is worth a read as it sums up the issue very well.
The document does contain many important ideals, with an emphasis on making sure that each child has textbooks, however their plan to buy a single textbook in each subject for the entire country, is one with dire consequences.

Please download the full document here and comment on it.

Draft LTSM Policy for Public Comment 2014

As you may know, there have been a few glitches with regards to ticket purchases for Open Book Festival this year, which has (thankfully) since been resolved. The team would like to apologise for any inconveniences and by way of apology we’re offering a “buy one get one free ticket special” which is running till Friday 5th September. This is valid for all standard R40 events at the festival.

More information about the ticket special can be viewed here: Ticket Deal

Download the full programme of events here: Programme

At the annual Sefika Awards dinner held on Tuesday 26th of August, outstanding service to the publishing and bookselling industry was celebrated in style, with this year’s theme: “Black and white”. Publishers, booksellers and authors congregated at the Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel and Convention Centre in KwaZulu Natal to applaud and be applauded for the roles they play in promoting literacy and a culture of reading by writing, producing and selling quality books in South Africa.

Read more…

Reflecting on the Amazon/Hachette battle, Tom Roberge of New Directions notes  in an excellent editorial on publishing perspectives that “publishers simply cannot function without independent bookstores.” Read it here.

The Center For Book Arts in New York offers a matrix for re-envisioned book-making as fine art.  Read current exhibitors, author David Unger and artist Anne Gilman’s, explanation on publishingperspectives.com. It is an interesting diversion.

In the place where gladiators once fought, the city of Rome is hosting a summer exhibition of the public and private libraries of the Ancient World. Read this post by Roger Tagholm on Publishingperspectives.com

Digital Marketing Assistant Cambridge University Press, one of the world’s leading book publishers with an outstanding reputation for excellence in educational publishing, has a position for a Dgital Marketing Assistant available at its African Branch in Cape Town. Reporting to the Digital Marketing Manager, this position involves the administration of the digital marketing assets and campaigns of the African Branch of Cambridge University Press.

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The Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place from 25-27 August 2014 at the Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel and Convention Centre in Durban.

Accommodation – The SA Booksellers Association has arranged for a block booking and members are encouraged to make their booking directly with the hotel as soon as possible. Booking details are:
Single rooms at R1,200 and sharing at R1,350 per room (including breakfast)
Please contact: Hloni Fattein on (031) 514 6515 or reservations1@coastlandsumhlanga.co.za

Herewith please find the conference agenda and registration form to be completed and sent to saba@sabooksellers.com

Conference Agenda

Registration Form 2014

The African EduWeek pre-conference took place yesterday with apparent great success and the doors to the official event opened this morning in Sandton. The African EduWeek expo 2014 is free-to-attend for all visitors and hosts over 90 of the world’s leading suppliers to the education sector.

The event, running at the Sandton Convention Centre from the 10th – 11th July offers: Read more…

The short list for the Nielsen Booksellers Choice Award is in.

The booksellers have voted and it is now up to the public to decide on which book they most enjoyed reading this year.
The SA Booksellers association is asking all readers to take the time to send in their vote. Entries must be in by 22nd August and the winner will be announced on 26th August. All readers that send in their vote will be illegible to win a copy of each of the 6 short-listed titles so don’t dilly dally, send an email with the book you most loved reading this year to samantha@sabooksellers.com and win.


The Real Meal Revolution, Prof Tim Noakes
Kobra, Deon Meyer
My Second Initiation: The Memoir of Vusi Pikoli, Vusi Pikoli
The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes
Kokkedoor, Errieda Du Toit
Field Guides to the Battlefields of Southern Africa, Nicki von der Heyde

Interesting little excerpt from ENCA which quotes the SA Booksellers Association and profiles the most novel bookseller I have seen to date.

Interesting piece on Publishing perspectives by Dennis Abrams about a new wave of African writers with an international bent.

he begins be quoting Felicia R. Lee from the New York Times: “Black literary writers with African roots (though some grew up elsewhere), mostly young cosmopolitans who write in English, are making a splash in the book world, especially in the United States. They are on best-seller lists, garner high profile reviews and win major awards, in American and in Britain. [Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie], 36, the author of Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction this year, is a prominent member of an expanding group that includes Dinaw Mengetsu, Helen Oyeyemi, NoViolet Bulawayo, Teju Cole, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Taiye, Selasi, among others.”

And while there was an earlier “wave” of African authors in the 1960s, this one, according to Lee, is different. There are more women authors, and, these authors’ stories “often reflect the writer’s experiences of living, studying or working elsewhere and are flecked with cultural references – and settings – familiar to Western audiences.” Read more here.

When Amazon last week listed its 10 top-selling electronic books in South Africa for the past year, South African book titles were absent and some on the local literary scene struggled to understand why. Roxanne Henderson from the Times asked us to comment on the issue. See the full article here.

“How can publishing compete with the allure of the tech companies? Do the tech companies scream “today” – even “tomorrow” – while publishing is still perceived as being stuck in “yesterday?” Does media portrayal of the publishing industry help or hinder? These were among issues raised at the London Book Fair’s third ‘Tech Tuesday” event last week, held in super cool Hoxton, a very funky area of east London, close to Old Street’s “silicon roundabout” where so many app companies are based,” reports Roger Tagholm in an insightful piece on Publishing Perspectives.

“Each year, the WCED places hundreds of new educators into vacant teaching posts around the province. However, when we analyse the applications for these posts most educators opt to apply for teaching posts in the urban areas. This makes it difficult for schools in rural areas to attract well qualified educators, especially those qualified to teach maths, science and languages,” states a release by the newly appointed Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schafer.
Read more…

The annual South African Book Fair kicks off at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday 13 June until Sunday 15 June, providing book lovers and casual readers with the opportunity to attend a literature experience of a lifetime.   Send an email answering the following question to samantha@sabooksellers.com and  stand a chance to win two complimentary tickets to this exciting event: Name three prestigious exhibitors that you can  expect to see at the 2014 SABF Read more…

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word ‘advertise’ stems from the Latin ‘advertere’ – to turn towards . In today’s world, prospective customers are literally drowning in a sea of advertising – almost every waking moment of their lives they are bombarded by print, radio, television, outdoor, mobile, email and web-based advertising, amongst others. Human beings cope with this by tuning out, filtering and turning away  from advertisements, something marketers refer to as ad fatigue . In my view, ‘ad fatigue’ is a myopic term – the larger problem is information fatigue. According to a Harvard Business Review article, the world is producing in excess of 2.5 billion gigabytes of data every day – enough information to fill around 20 billion filing cabinets By comparison, some estimates suggest that the human brain can store around 1 million gigabytes of data. Read more…

Emerging markets are largely driving educational app usage, with four of the countries with a larger than average market for education apps being South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and India. This is according to MEF (formerly “Mobile Entertainment Forum”, which has released the third report in its Global Consumer Insights  series, this time on mobile education. Apps have changed how many people access the internet, from banking to reading the daily news, entertainment, and, most importantly, education.

Read more…

Nielsen is very proud to announce the continued sponsorship of the Booksellers’ Choice Award which promotes and celebrates South African publishers, authors and booksellers. Nielsen sponsors the Booksellers’ Choice Awards in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and are “delighted to continue to support these awards as we join you in celebrating great writing from bestselling authors which is published by innovative publishers and sold by the passionate bookseller.”

Read more…

(NLSA) has been awarded a R32m grant by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support a pilot project to strengthen selected Public Libraries in South Africa. This is fantastic news, as the grant should consolidate public libraries as community hubs with re-skilled staff able to work with new technologies in a time when the entire sector is feeling fiscal pressure from many quarters. “In an age where economic, educational, health, and social opportunities increasingly depend on access to the Internet, lack of access means lack of opportunity. Only 35 per cent of the world’s population is connected to the Internet, and people in rural and poor communities are the least likely to have online access or the skills to navigate the digital world.

Read more…

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