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You are Invited to the South African Book Awards – 2023 to be hosted online on Tuesday, 3 October @ 12pm (South African Time). These annual Book Awards recognize books that are popular with Booksellers and the public, and celebrate the creativity and skills of Authors, Publishers, and their support teams, who came together in the past year to entertain, educate, and inform us. South Africa has a rich literary history, including 2 Nobel prizes for Literature. We encourage everyone  to read more, support our Authors and Publishers, and buy these and and books from their local Bookstores. After a process of selection and voting the following have been shortlisted in the 4 categories below: Fiction > Doolhof by Rudie […]

The Trade SectorGrattan Kirk The South African reading population is both ageing and reducing. However, there are opportunities  for local authors and exciting prospects in new emerging market readers including children.  Covid-19 has had a massively negative impact on the general trade. The estimated General Trade book market (excluding study guides and dictionaries etc) is R1 billion down 23% from R1.3 billion in 2019, while the total book market is estimated to be R1.2 billion (R1.6 billion in 2019). SABA’s intervention (in particular SABA President Melvin Kaabwe) with Government in reopening book stores gave a much-needed lifeline, and inadvertently “expanded” the definition of what an “educational” book was! The major disruption to the supplier chain from publishers during lockdown was […]

Please join the 2020 SABA virtual conference and AGM – follow the link to the programme here and the link to register here.

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Dear Readers, Booksellers are the curators of our local community’s primary knowledge resources. This is more of a calling than a job. It is not for the faint-hearted nor those averse to risk. In fact, as with our compatriots on the front-lines of the war against Covid-19 in medical care casualty wards, few in this profession would be practising for the sake of self-enrichment. It is a higher desire than profit to educate our young, inspire our adults and exercise the minds of our aged. Our doctors depend on books, so too every facet of our lives is influenced by readership. If it were not so, every post-apocalyptic scenario would not depict freedom of speech and information as being essential […]

The Alliance for Academic Success sent a letter to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, requesting for textbooks and learning materials to be classified as Essential products during the Covid-19 lockdown. In this letter the Alliance extend their understanding and support to the measurements taken to flatten the Covid-19 infection curve. They, however, requested and explained why the availability of textbooks and learning material to students are necessary  and should be considered as Essential Products. [Read more]

Image: Evan Wise/Unsplash In light of rental obligations with no income realities, all SABA members are facing at the moment, SABA sent a letter to the Chair of the South African Real Estate Investment Trust (SA REIT) Association. SA REIT presented the retailers with a proposal suggesting they defer April and May’s rent and amortise it over the next 6 months. That means a rental increase of 33% for the next 6 months. SABA responded to SA REIT on behalf of all its members. [Read more]

The Library and Information Association of South African (LIASA), the Professional Body for Library and Information Services (LIS) in South Africa, remains in full support of our South African government and the efforts to address the worldwide SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We actively appeal to our members and the wider Library and Information Services sector to adhere to the current regulations and guidelines well knowing the impact on the sector and on its ability to continue providing information and reading services to communities. LIASA continues to assert the intrinsic value of reading and so this is a loss to us all. We note that in the easing of the national lockdown to level 4 that “educational” books only will become available for […]

PEN South Africa’s Open Letter to President Ramaphosa to allow the selling of books during Lockdown Stage 4 was signed by more than 3 000 people within 36 hours. Many prominent authors added their signatures to the appeal, including Nobel winner J.M. Coetzee, current Poet Laureate Wally Serote and other internationally renowned names such as Breyten Breytenbach, Damon Galgut, Zakes Mda and Deon Meyer. The letter expressed concern about the survival of the South African book trade, which was already under strain prior to the Covid-19 outbreak: “We as a country are at great risk of losing not only our booksellers, but our publishers too. We are concerned about the jobs that will be lost, as well as the loss […]

With lockdown biting hard in the bookselling business, publisher Melinda Ferguson was determined not to just sit by and watch. Shortly before the first lockdown, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola joked on the publisher’s WhatsApp group about writing a ‘coronavirus book’, and so the idea was born: all 17 writers on the group were challenged by Ferguson to deliver material within 10 days, which within hours turned into 7 days. ‘It was crazy. Everyone agreed. I’m not sure how that happened because there were a few real dawdlers in that group. Next thing copy was coming in and I just started editing furiously, briefing a cover and throwing crazy deadlines at the NB teams, who were all working from home and […]

When President Ramaphosa announced the first lockdown due to coronavirus on 23 March, it was clear a book industry already under pressure would face extraordinarily difficult times. March sales figures were somewhat saved by the Christmas-like rush in the 3 days before lockdown started, but April loomed long and empty. Most bookshops and publishers were forced to cut April salaries by 20-30%, while staff had to work frantically from home to keep the wheels turning. Independent retailer Graffiti Books & Stationery in Montana, Pretoria, was hit with a double whammy when their shop was flooded during lockdown, causing damage of around R15 000. Publisher Pan MacMillan had to postpone their biggest publication of the year: Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s memoir. The SA […]

Initially, employers lodged claims under TERS by emailing a designated UIF email address. However, to simplify and expedite the application process, the UIF has recently developed an online portal to lodge claims under TERS. To assist employers in lodging a claim under TERS using the online application process, the steps to be taken are as follows: Step One: Go to Website Enter the URL https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19 into any web browser. Step Two: Register as User Register as a user by clicking on the “Register” button which appears on the top left of the application system homepage. The employer will have to register as a user of the online platform by providing certain information such as, for example, the employer’s UIF reference […]

With lockdown eased to level 4 and hopefully continuing to open up, managers have to prepare for open up shop. Here are post-lockdown to-do list guidelines and suggestions. Permits, where applicable Deep clean premises (public facing surfaces, multiple times a day) Order sanitiser at doors (preferable single entry/exit) Masks/visors for staff (or see through Perspex screens mounted on counters) Contact-less payment methods Email receipts/ invoices Gloves for staff (difficult to handle money with gloves but OK for back office/receiving) Floor markings for queues (1 m spacing) Social distancing training for staff Thermal scanners to check temperature Covid-19 tests for staff (at Dischem) TERS claims Insurance Laminated poster of government rules where Public toilets are available, touchless sanitary equipment (soap dispensers, […]

Retail space everywhere is being disinfected regularly … including Bookstores.

With the coronavirus steadily spreading around the globe, the first sign of things to come was the postponement of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in February. The fair was supposed to take place from 30 March to 2 April, and was initially rescheduled for 4 to 7 May this year before being called off completely on 11 March. The London Book Fair, which was to run 10 to 12 March, announced on 4 March they were cancelling until 2021. This left many South African publishers who regularly attend the fair either stuck in London or forced to cancel their travel plans. Those who had travelled faced 14 days of quarantine upon their return. While SAPnet reported an 8,6% decline in […]

Iconic Afrikaans publishing house LAPA was sold to Penguin Random House South Africa in February, where it will now function as an imprint and independent division of the global giant. Their offices will remain in Pretoria, while the Cape Town arm of the publishing house will be based at PRH’s premises in the Mother City. Sylvia de Wet will continue in her role as Managing Director at LAPA. LAPA’s history stretches back to before the Second World War, when J.P. van der Walt founded Springbok Biblioteek under the erstwhile Unie-Boekhandel. In 1958 his son, Manie van der Walt, joined the company as the managing director and in 1961 the publishing house was renamed J.P. van der Walt en Seun (Edms.) Bpk […]

South African collaborators Hear My Voice, Imphepho Pressand Bridges Pan Afrikan Arts Movement watched in dismay as the Covid-19 outbreak disrupted events planned worldwide for World Poetry Day on 21 March, and decided to do something about it. Together they collected funding for a Zoom event, roped in 16 of the best poets around the globe and managed to livestream a 3-hour gathering of souls to 4 900 eager attendees on Facebook. Since then, the video has been viewed 8 500 times. The stellar line-up featured local poets Busi Mahlangu, Sarah Godsell, Mandi Vundla, Mak Manaka, Lebo Mashile and Toni Giselle Stuart, while the international guest list consisted of Aja Monet (USA), Claire Trevien (France/UK), Tolu Abgelusi (Nigeria/UK), Elisangela Rita (Angola), Q Malewezi (Malawi), Holly […]

Minister of Higher education, science and technology, Dr Blade Nzimande has again reiterated that eliminating corruption and maladministration in NSFAS is a priority. Placed under administration in August of 2018 when the scheme was on the brink of collapse, in a statement made in January 2020 it was revealed that five internal forensic investigations have been launched and four criminal cases have been opened, while a further 510 instances of alleged fraud have been handed to the Commercial Crimes Unit. It is significant that much of the fraud and corruption not only benefitted a few individuals but allowed external parties to gain inappropriate control over several institutions. The administrator has outlined the positive rationale behind no longer distributing a specific […]

Jacana Media, on 10 February, announced the departure of Blackbird Books from their portfolio, with publisher Thabiso Mahlape striking it out on her own from 13 March 2020. In Shay Heydenrych’s letter to the trade she expressed their sadness to see her go, but said they were ‘proud to see her fly!’ Mahlape studied publishing at Tuks before joining Jacana. ‘Maggie and Bridget are true book people,’ she stated in a recent Bookmark interview. ‘I couldn’t have worked anywhere else.’ The Blackbird imprint came into being when Mahlape needed more time at home with her child. Her first success was in 2015 with Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Toure, but it was Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine which truly put the […]

After the success of their first printed compendium, We Have A Game Changer: A Decade of Daily Maverick in November last year, online newspaper Daily Maverick announced plans to create a permanent book publishing division under the auspices of Ingeborg Pelser (pictured). Pelser has more than 20 years’ experience in publishing, having worked at David Philip, Jonathan Ball and Quivertree, and recently founded Flyleaf Publishing & Distribution in Cape Town. The imprint will be called Maverick 451, and will aim to rock the industry boat by paying its authors a higher percentage than the norm. According to Pelser, the Daily Maverick readership affords the publisher a unique channel to market and sell new titles, while its access to quality content […]

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