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In 2014, the self-help and graphic novels categories had the fastest growth in print book unit sales among adult segments, at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan. Over the course of the year, these categories posted gains of 15% and 13%, respectively, compared to 2013. 

Read More on Publishers Weekly

Keith Moerer, Director of Apple’s iBookstore, revealed that Apple’s iBookstore is growing at a million users per month and has seen 1 billion book downloads. In an interview at the Digital Book World conference in New York, Moerer answers it all. Read the full article on Publishing Perspectives

With the children’s book market constantly growing, we wonder why it is that kids pick up a book in the first place. To explore the reading attitudes and experience that most influence children’s reading habits, Scholastic has released the findings of its Kids & Family Reading Report.

Read more on Good e-Reader

This business economic report is a very useful tool for members. The author Willem Struik has extensive and in depth knowledge of the industry that spans many years.

2013 Annual Publishing Industry Survey

The children’s book market has grown 44% in the last decade. Why? Because, as Nielsen’s Children’s Book Summit detailed, kids and teens still read…a lot.

Read the full article by Erin L Cox on Publishing Perspectives.

draft LTSM policy
SA Bookseller Association’s submission on the Draft LTSM policy
At the SA Booksellers AGM in September, Mr Allan Subban, Director: Enhancement of Programmes and Evaluation of School Performance, DBE addressed Booksellers on the Governments future plans for Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM). The conference room was hushed and a nervous level of attention was tangible as a few key educational publishers stood at the back of the room, or sat where they could find a space. Read more…

The Draft Learner and Teacher Support Material Policy that is causing such an uproar in the South African education scene purportedly had noble intentions – to ensure that all the injustices and inequalities of the past are addressed. It states that “Redress and equity are fundamental principles enshrined in the constitution. Within the learning and teaching support material provisioning context these principles are crucial, as the injustices of the past have to be corrected”. Read more…

My experience – 30 years in public libraries
So who says that nothing has got better over the past half century?
When I got my first library job 37 years ago, the bookstock of the service for which I worked was still segregated. Books for Whites had white datesheets and stationery; books for Blacks had blue. Whites (usually wanting to jump the queue for bestsellers) were allowed to use Black copies if they wanted, but Under No Circumstances were Blacks allowed to use White copies. As young librarians we had great fun getting confused about who was what, why, when…. Read more…

October 2013 to October 2014 to include Christmas period 2013.

The year so far has been one of a weakening currency, tighter customer purse strings, Eskom black-outs and mall robberies. The spirit of bookselling nonetheless prevailed with a momentous comeback by Exclusive Books, continued expansion by Bargain Books and enduring independents. Read more…

The landscape in South Africa at the end of 2014
The recent news of Kalahari and Takealot.com’s merging prompted Bookmark to take a quick look at the online retail landscape in South Africa at the moment.
Derek Wiggill, MD of mobile payment solutions company Zap Group, notes in an article on Itweb.co.za recently that the merger indicates a gradually maturing market as more South African shoppers turn their attention “from bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar”. He adds that the logistics of after-sales services, including delivery of goods, remains a challenge locally, “but joining forces helps overcome the challenge”. Read more…

How involved will you be in your website?
web development
Making the decision to enter the world of online marketing and retail is a big decision that requires budget, time, human resources and most importantly; follow through. Continued maintenance and updates to your online platform will be necessary in order for it to be recognised by your customers and by Google as a worthwhile place to be. This leads us to the question of what system you will use to do this. Will you outsource the work to your web development team or will you train staff to include the daily task of website maintenance to their workload, be it posting new books to your e-commerce site, or updating your blog with your recommended reads for the season. Read more…

Gordon Pringle a well known and well liked figure in South African book publishing circles has died aged 73. Read more…

Start planning for FLF 2015…

A number of international authors, and South African writers based overseas, have confirmed their attendance at the festival from 15-17 May 2015. The list is already impressive. We are excited … Read more…

More Books is a public campaign to encourage a greater abundance and diversity of books in South African schools. It is driven by private individuals and supporting organisations.

Their current focus is the Department of Basic Education’s proposed ‘National Policy for the Provisioning and Management of Learning and Teaching Support Material for Grade R–12’, which proposes abandoning the current system, in which schools choose from eight approved books per subject per grade, to no choice at all: only one book will be approved per subject per grade.
The deadline for official public submissions on the draft policy has passed. But you can still participate: support the campaign on Facebook, sign their petition, or write to a representative.

“It’s a jolt to read, in a press release from Read and Readathon, that “…over 53% of our educational institutions have fewer than 10 books, that only 23% have access to newspapers and magazines, that only 27% of our schools have libraries, and that over half of all our school-goers’ families do not have a single book in their homes”. writes Mandi Smallhorn on Fin24.com

“He is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, and biologist, a writer whose first novel Sleepwalking Land has been called one of the best African books of the twentieth-century. Mia Couto has been described by Niyi Afalabi as a “revolutionary optimist” and by translator David Brookshaw as the “most original and prolific voice of his generation.”

And this past Friday, Mozambique’s Mia Couto was honored with the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature, whose previous winners include such literary luminaries as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Elizabeth Bishop, Czeslaw Milosz, Octavio Paz, David Malouf, Adam Zagajewski, and Rohinton Mistry. Read Dennis Abrams interview with this fascinating man here.

Authors United has issued a letter from the author Daniel Handler – a.k.a. Lemony Snicket – encouraging writers to take part in Upstream, a new program set up to help promote independent bookstores. Upstream, “cooked up” by Handler and “assorted interested parties”, aims to connect writers with their local independent booksellers. Read all about it on Publishingperspectives.com

The total number of books in print hit 28 million worldwide in 2013 , as calculated by all the titles that acquired ISBNs. In the United States, some 390,000 ISBNs were taken by the self-published authors, while approximately 300,000 were solicited by the traditional trade publishers. At Frankfurt this led to a discussion around the long tail, which is getting fatter, and how to market it. Read the full debate on Publishingperspecitves.com

Kalahari.com and takealot.com, two of the leading general etailers in South Africa, have announced that they are merging their operations.

The move was driven by the fact that, without scale, SA etailers simply can’t compete successfully against the local brick and mortar retailers and foreign companies such as Amazon and Alibaba. “After many years of losses on Kalahari and 4 years on takealot, we realise we have to work together if we are to survive and prosper”, said Oliver Rippel, senior executive responsible for Kalahari. “If you also take into account an uneven playing field against foreign operators who do not pay tax in South Africa, and the fact that high broadband costs are impeding the speed of growth in local online shoppers, combining forces gives us a better chance of success”.

See more at paymentsafrika.com

Michiel Kolman of Elsevier was elected IPA Vice President in Frankfurt recently while Brian Wafawarowa of Pearson South Africa and Bodour Al Qasimi of Kalimat Publishing Group have joined the IPA Executive Committee (EC). Trasvin Jittidecharak of Silkworm Books, Riccardo Cavallero of Mondadori and Asoke Ghosh of PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd have all been re-appointed to the EC. Simon Littlewood of Random House will replace Bloomsbury’s Richard Charkin on the EC once Mr Charkin takes up office as IPA President in January 2015.
Read more…

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