African Publishing Coming of Age

Buy Now
African Publishing Coming of Age

A Review Essay

The sixteen chapters in this book form a Festschrift in honour of Henry Chakava, the distinguished Kenyan publisher who is widely recognized as one of the continent's most dynamic and most innovative publisher, as well as being a prolific author of numerous articles and studies on many aspects of publishing and the book sector in Africa.

Preceded by a foreword by Walter Bgoya – another icon among African publishers – the first five chapters in the book are tributes to Chakava’s work, his commitment, courage and vision, and assess his intellectual and professional contribution to publishing and book development in Africa, as well as his involvement in the African world of letters. These five chapters are: “The Guru of Publishing: Assessing Henry’s Chakava’s Contribution in Africa” by Kiarie Kamau; “Henry Chakava: The Gory and Glory of African Language Publishing” by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o; “The Triangle that Defined AWS: Nairobi – Ibadan – London” by James Currey; “Publisher and Intellectual: The Work of Henry Chakava” by Simon Gikandi; and an orature epic in prose poetry commemorating Henry Miyinzi Chakava’s 70th birthday, “African Orature: Back to the Roots”, by the Kenyan writer and scholar Micere Githae Mugo.

The subsequent eleven chapters focus on different areas of African publishing, containing papers on scholarly publishing, copyright, publishing in the digital age, African books in the international market place, professional training, and the need for research and documentation on the African book industries.

The dominance of textbook publishing, and the politics of African publishing

Nigerian publisher Ayo Ojeniyi, in his chapter entitled “The Dominance of the Textbook in African Publishing”, provides a synopsis of the development of educational and school book publishing on the continent, with broad overviews of the situation in a number of countries in West, East, and Southern Africa, and describing the challenges, and the vagaries, of textbook publishing both for schools and tertiary education. The size of the textbook market can be huge in some countries like Nigeria or Kenya, and can amount to over 90% of total revenue of the book industries. Many African countries share similar experiences in the textbook sector, and from reading Ojeniyi’s account one gets the impression that most of the problems associated with textbook publishing remain largely the same today as they were two decades or more ago: among them the lack of national book policies, inconsistent educational and fiscal policies, and frequently changing curriculum and teaching syllabuses (leaving publishers stuck with obsolete books), as well as slow payment to publishers for books supplied to schools or through government agencies. In Nigeria “some publishers are still being owed huge sums of money for books supplied thirty years ago” Ojeniyi says, while a weak retail sector and a poor distribution network is another serious handicap, and “is perhaps the weakest link in the book chain in Africa today.”

Among other problems he cites is a fragile local printing infrastructure that is frequently unable to cope with rapid technological advances in the printing industries, together with high import tariffs on raw materials required for printing and binding including paper and boards.

A relatively new, but now very serious menace is piracy, coupled with inadequate enforcement of copyright laws in most African countries. Ojeniyi says “it is estimated that publishers lose some 40% of the textbook market to pirates annually.” He doesn’t tell us how this figure was arrived at, but it is clear that there is now book piracy, copyright theft, and illegal photocopying on a massive scale, which is a major threat to the livelihood of both writers and publishers.

While state control of school book publishing is now largely a thing of the past, a new threat to textbook publishers are moves by some governments – for example in Tanzania recently, or in South Africa currently – to replace a choice of several textbooks for each subject with just one book per subject and per class. Some African governments would appear to favour the single textbook system as a quick fix to the funding challenges for the education sector.

Despite this litany of problems, and by virtue of the massive expansion in education in Africa, Ojeniyi feels optimistic about the future. He predicts that “the publishing business generally and textbook publishing in Africa more specifically have bright prospects”, but warns that publishers in Africa currently lack the capacity to meet the textbook demands; it is therefore essential to enhance capacity and that this requires an enabling environment for books and other learning materials to be made available in the right quantity, quality, and variety.

Similar views are voiced by Lily Nyariki in her paper “Lobby for the Book: The Politics of African Publishing and the Growth of Professional and Trade Organizations”, which provides an overview of the African publishing scene over the past few decades, including a general historical perspective of the publishing industries in sub-Saharan Africa. It sets out some of the main challenges and problems facing the industry, notably the lack of government support, and the absence of robust national book policies. This is followed by a summary of the activities of the major book trade organizations and book promotional bodies in Africa, as well as organizations and initiatives outside Africa that have supported the indigenous African book industries over the years. Sadly, several of the organizations that were operating in Africa are now dormant, or have shut down altogether, “due to financial constraints”, but the author might have wished to investigate the reasons why all these organizations failed once donor or other external support ceased. Is it perhaps a failure of collective will? Or are there other reasons? In her conclusion Nyariki re-states what many African publishers have stated many times before, namely that a sustainable book industry can only flourish with positive government support that recognizes the strategic importance of publishing, and demonstrates this in its official commitment through policies and budgets.

A view from Uganda

James Tumusiime, founder of Fountain Publishers in Kampala, offers a close history and analysis of publishing in Uganda in his contribution “Publishing in East Africa: A Close Examination of Uganda (1985-2015)”, some of which he had earlier also set out in a chapter in his entertaining book What Makes Africans Laugh? Reflections of an Entrepreneur in Humour, Media and Culture,1 in which he describes his efforts to strengthen local publishing capacity in the country, and the numerous obstacles and challenges he faced in setting up his own indigenous publishing house in 1988, in a country in which at that time the textbook markets were monopolised by well-entrenched UK multinationals. Although significant progress has been made in establishing an autonomous publishing industry, multiple challenges remain. These range from a poor reading culture, the government’s “flip-flopping policies” as it relates to the book sector and textbook policies, an uncertain investment climate, a weak book chain, and the absence of high quality printing facilities.

However, there have been positive developments too. For example, locally-based publishers have moved beyond the traditional bookshops to seek outlets to get their books to the reading public. Most of the major supermarkets nowadays have book sections on different topics, including textbooks, and more and more places for selling books are opening. And with the expansion of the East African Community, when Burundi and Rwanda came on board and with the latter switching to an English curriculum, the East African publishing industry received a significant boost. Nonetheless, unclear government book policies makes it very difficult to predict the future success of the book industries, and this calls for a more favourable and transparent business environment, Tumusiime says, and for clarity of guidelines: “Publishing houses, the public and government agencies are all partners in this endeavour and must contribute in the debate on how to improve the sector. However, governments must provide the leading role by improving budgetary allocations to the improvement of school books supplies; and the research initiative climate that can ensure creativity among writers, [and] sensitise the public on the significance of literature and a good reading culture.”

The challenges of scholarly publishing

“Shared Visions and Challenges in Publishing in Africa: Henry Chakava and CODESRIA” by Francis Nyamnjoh is both a tribute to Chakava’s long-time devotion to the cause of publishing and the book in Africa, as well as a history of the work and activities of the Dakar-based Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA), who have been in the forefront of African scholarly publishing for over four decades. His paper includes a discussion about the much debated issue of the marginalisation of African language publishing, and he seeks to demonstrate how CODESRIA “has navigated, negotiated and sought to reconcile this challenging linguistic landscape in the interest of its mission.” In his observations about the state of the book industries in Africa, Nyamnjoh – in contrast with other contributors to this volume, who are rather more upbeat about progress in recent years – conveys a rather gloomy picture: “Well over 90 per cent of books published in Africa are school textbooks, and the majority of these are published by multinational companies.” He states that, in South Africa for example, “publishing of books of interest and relevance to the majority of Africans is rare”, but I suspect some publishers in South Africa, especially the smaller progressive publishers, may well wish to challenge this assertion. In the social sciences, Nyamnjoh says, “where objectivity is often distorted by obvious or subtle ideology, African scholars face a critical choice between sacrificing relevance for recognition or recognition for relevance, the politics of the cultural economy of publishing prevents them from achieving both recognition and relevance simultaneously.”

Emilia Ilieva and Hillary Chakava’s “East African Publishing and the Academia” presents a round-up of knowledge production, academic publishing output (journals and scholarly monographs), and collaboration between academician and publishers over the last four decades, during which a vast and diverse corpus of scholarship was produced and made available both within the East African region and the wider world. However, the present situation reveals a plethora of challenges, the authors say. Many of these challenges have arisen as a result of underfunding and understaffing of universities, “their inadequate infrastructure, and the crisis of quality in teaching and learning. A new institutional culture has evolved whereby intellectual concerns have been displaced by financial and administrative exigencies. Under these circumstances, research and the standard of publications have declined.” Frequent irregularity in the publication of local journals, and sometimes poor editorial standards, lead academicians to seek publication abroad, thus “weak journals become weaker through constant supply of weak submissions.” On the positive side, research output in scientific publications has been on the rise over the last decade, with Kenya the leading nation in this area, and research impact in the region. University presses in East Africa (at Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, and Makerere), “have, on the whole, not fulfilled the ‘lofty mission’ of university presses the world over” to publish and disseminate the best possible scholarship. This, the authors argue, demands a change “that would revamp the collaboration between the academia and publishers and expand the creation and dissemination of knowledge in East Africa. This change must start with the producers of knowledge—the academicians. … One major component in this task is to improve the quality of their publications.” University presses, the authors argue, “need not endlessly lament their pecuniary troubles”, while publishers need to become more demanding regarding the quality of the manuscripts they accept for publication. Academics and publishers must close ranks in order to create a more vigorous intellectual system of which publishing is very much an integral part.

The place of popular fiction publishing

David Maillu, the well-known Kenyan writer and publisher of African popular fiction, in his chapter “Popular Fiction Publishing in Africa: Does it Have a Place?” pays tribute to Henry Chakava’s contribution to the birth and development of African pop fiction through the launch of Heinemann’s ‘Spear Book Series’ back in the 1980s. He asks “when does a work of fiction become popular or serious? Who decides what qualifies for popular or serious fiction?” Every genre has its own conventions, he says. Contrary to what some Western scholars have written about African popular fiction, he defines it as “using simple words to address serious social-economic immoralities and keeping society in check.” African popular fiction, which has attracted a measure of criticism in the past, has a long history and its future is promising, Maillu says, especially in the digital age, with new delivery methods for content on mobile devices. “Its foundation is in the history of African traditional style of expression.” However, his comment that a Google search for ‘African popular fiction’ generates virtually no relevant results, and “there is no research done in this genre”, is puzzling. There are in fact a substantial number of studies on the topic, including full-length books, e.g. Stephanie Newell’s Readings in African Popular Fiction. (Indiana University Press, 2002), and there have been many studies on popular fiction publishing in Ghana, Nigeria or South Africa for example.

Copyright and copyright protection

Marisella Ouma’s “Copyright and Copyright Infringement: The Legal and Institutional Framework in East Africa” discusses copyright law, and the different forms of copyright protection, in the East African region. Infringement of copyright and piracy, she notes, has become a major problem in East Africa, especially in the light of improved Internet speeds, affordable connectivity, and the proliferation of mobiles. For effective copyright protection to be realised it is important to have an appropriate institutional framework, the author says, and she provides an overview of the work of the different copyright boards and offices active in the countries of East Africa, including the activities of reprographic reproduction rights organizations that collect royalties on behalf of the rights holders. Copyright protection faces many challenges in the region; infringement of copyright and related rights continue to plague the book and creative industries “and needs to be tackled from a policy and practical perspective” the author argues, in order to create a sound policy framework both at the national and regional level. It is also crucial, Ouma contends, to embrace technology “and look for ways in which we can have the balance between the rights of the author and access by users without prejudicing the interests of the rights holder.” Moreover, education and awareness creation are necessary, “and should start at an early age so that people can grow to appreciate copyright and related rights as an important aspect of our daily lives and a major contributor to the economy.”

African books in the international literary market place, and in the new digital age

In a chapter entitled “Internationalising the African Book”, Mary Jay provides an informative account of the raison d'être that led to the establishment of the not-for-profit, African-owned African Books Collective Ltd (ABC), its mission, governance, and finance, and its evolution and wide range of activities over the years since it first started trading from Oxford in 1989. Initially supported by a number of donor agencies for a number of years, a major remodelling of ABC took place in 2007, when it became self-financing, and moved to a largely digital model at the same time. In 2015 it celebrated its 25th year of trading, and currently acts as a worldwide marketing and distribution outlet for 2,500 print titles and e-books (scholarly, literature, and children’s books) from over 150 African publishers in 24 countries. These twenty-five years have not all been plain sailing, “it took endurance to build up to the self-sufficiency of the last eight years, with times of financial strain, and anxiety as to ABC being able to pay its way month to month”, but it remains committed to its ethos to strengthen African publishing through collective action and to increase the visibility and accessibility of the wealth of African scholarship and culture. Internationalising the African book remains a huge challenge, Jay says: “The needs remain to engage with Northern scholars, to counter negative perceptions, and to stand on an equal footing with publishers worldwide. Problems may still be faced by indigenous publishers in Africa with enduring unconducive policies; but they are not constrained in internationalising their books. The digital age has greatly enhanced the opportunities, and that remains ABC’s mission.”

Roger Stringer contributes a chapter on “African Publishing in the Digital Age”, which looks back at the early development of indigenous publishing in Africa, how locally owned publishing companies were formed and how they progressed over the years; the major challenges they faced at the time, the organizations and bodies that supported the African book industries, and the technology issues that began to dominate discussions about publishing in the early 21st century. He finds the current picture indicates that, despite the opportunities now offered by these continuously evolving technologies, many African publishers have still not fully embraced the digital age to maintain or improve their position in the publishing world. Not many publishers have websites, and of those that do, they frequently don’t work. However, not all African publishers are the same, and there is now a new generation of publishers on the continent fully comfortable with the technologies, who “are adapting their approaches to publishing to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the digital age.” These publishers “represent the future of African publishing, particularly in the general publishing and literary arena. They are building on the foundations laid by the now established African indigenous publishers, but are better placed to use the technologies and approaches required in the digital age.”

Training for book industry personnel, and the need for research and documentation

Richard Crabbe, a former Chair of the African Publishers Network in its early years and now with the World Bank, in a paper entitled “Training Opportunities for African Publishers”, says that his contribution focuses on the publishing industry rather than publishers, to emphasise the synergy that should exist among all players that are involved in the book chain: writers, editors, illustrators, designers, publishers, printers, distributors, and booksellers. “It is the failure to think in such terms that has led to book provision programmes side-lining one group or other, but especially distributors and booksellers.” He presents a useful inventory of what has been done in the past, describes what is being done currently in terms of training opportunities and professional skills development programmes, and suggests how the African publishing industry and interested parties might prepare to equip a new generation of publishing professionals for the continent. In his conclusion Crabbe states “much has been done in the past; quite a bit is being done now, but we need to do more and better”, in order to be “better able to project Africa’s future publishing needs and identify the human resources that will be required to meet such needs.”

This writer, finally, contributes a chapter entitled “Indigenous Publishing in Africa – The Need for Research, Documentation, and Collaboration”, which sets out the need for more systematic and more vigorous research and documentation, data gathering, and analysis of the African book sector. This ought to include, for example, compilation of publishing data and book production statistics, as important elements in measuring the growth and vitality of indigenous publishing in Africa today. It also argues for the desirability for more collaboration, knowledge sharing, and information and skills exchange within Africa; as well as the possible development of North-South links and partnership programmes, such as a programme to establish a North-South research group, a new research cluster or network bringing together suitable academic and research institutions in Africa, Europe, and North America. A concluding section offers some pointers for reinvigorating research, and possible forms of collaboration. A listing of university institutions in Africa with Departments of Book and Publishing Studies is included as an appendix.

As mentioned earlier, Henry Chakava has written extensively, and eloquently, about many aspects of publishing and the state of the book in Africa, and so, in a Festschrift of this kind, it seems a baffling omission that it doesn’t contain a listing or bibliography of his writings over the years. However, for those interested, an author search in the online database of Publishing, Books & Reading in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Critical Bibliography (shortly to be re-launched on a new and much enhanced digital platform at Kwara State University Library in Nigeria) will display more than 30 annotated records of Henry Chakava’s books, articles, reports, and chapters in collections. It should perhaps be added that his wide-ranging introductory essay in the above print/online reference resource, “African Publishing: From Ile-Ife, Nigeria to the Present”, albeit now marginally dated here and there, remains one of the most succinct and penetrating accounts of the African book industry today, exploring most of the key issues from a historical perspective, highlighting the most significant problems and constraints faced by the African book industries, and identifying the challenges and prospects that lie ahead.

Has African publishing come of age?

Curiously, despite the fact that the main title of the book is “Coming of Age”, none of the contributors in this volume actually address the issue whether African publishing has come of age, and that it has reached its full successful development. Back in 2008, in the concluding paragraph of the above-mentioned introductory essay in Publishing, Books & Reading in Sub-Saharan Africa Henry Chakava stated

"The African publishing industry still has a long way to realize its potential. Poor leadership has turned the continent into a pawn of the West (and now the East) and it continues to squander its resources on externally driven projects that carry little benefit to its people. Since the publishing technology and all its recent developments come from the North, Africa needs to engage with Northern governments and institutions to create partnerships and agreements that can facilitate the transfer of this technology to the South. Above all, it must take charge of its own destiny, get over its colonial warp, and put its house in order. But, at this point, it is not possible to say that African publishing has come of age."3

Almost a decade later, has the picture changed?

There can be no question that the African book industries have made significant advances over the past three decades or more, and there have been a good number of encouraging developments. Competing against the multinationals or the major publishing conglomerates will always be hugely difficult, for independent publishers anywhere. Nonetheless, it is probably true to say that some of the larger indigenous publishers in Africa (like for example East African Educational Publishers, the publisher of this volume), have gained a much stronger foothold in recent years and have edged out the multinationals, in some countries at least.

Other positive developments include, for example, the strong presence of African books in the international market place through the activities of African Books Collective, the emergence of a substantial number of innovative and enterprising new African imprints, and the exciting new opportunities now being offered to the African book industries by the digital age.

So perhaps it can be said with a measure of certainty that African publishing, truly, has come of age, although many challenges remain.

On the downside, tangible government support for the book and libraries in Africa is still largely absent. In fact it could be argued that the situation has actually gone from bad to worse, with an increasing number of African governments now heavily taxing books – and in turn knowledge – through debilitating tariffs, Value-Added Tax (VAT) or Goods & Services Tax (GST), or both. For example VAT: in Kenya 16%, Mozambique 17%, South Africa 14%, Tanzania 18%; or, in Ghana and Zambia, 17.5%/16% respectively GST on e-books4. And in September 2015 the Zimbabwean government imposed a punitive, short-sighted 40% import duty on books, which includes educational and textbooks. While some charities or NGOs may be able to obtain exemption from paying duty, these draconian new tariffs will have a devastating effect not only on the cost of educational book supplies and reading materials, but the cost of books generally, with retail prices now reaching astronomical levels. Moreover, book imports from other African countries will be subject to the same import duty, which will put an end to any prospects of a flourishing intra-African book trade.

Meantime, many of the problems confronting African publishing two or three decades ago are still largely prevalent today, to which is now added the constant threat of piracy. Another potential threat, and as mentioned in the papers of both Francis Nyamnjoh and Mary Jay, are the negative effects of the activities of overseas book donation organizations shipping tens of millions of free books to libraries, schools and other recipients in Africa every year, the majority of them not part of recipient-request led programmes. It is a practice that amounts to a one-way traffic, and continues to exclude African-published books for the most part. As Mary Jay rightly points out in her paper, “these negative effects concern the weakening of the viability of African publishers through limiting their reach into their own markets for which they are publishing.”

This writer has recently undertaken a wide-ranging study5 that attempted to shed more light on current book donation practices, and provided an overview and profiles of the work of the principal book aid organizations active in the English-speaking parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The figures of annual book donations from overseas which are cited in part I of this study dramatically demonstrate that African publishers have legitimate cause for concern that their main potential markets are flooded with millions of free books every year, thus jeopardizing the sales prospects of their own locally produced books. Book aid organizations never seem to give much thought how such huge quantities of donated books could affect the wider book chain in African countries. On their websites they continue to emphasise the desperate need for books to be donated to African libraries and schools, but what is oddly missing are statements of any kind to indicate that there is not only an acute need for books, but that it is equally important for African governments to provide much more positive support for their libraries, and make them less dependent on book donations from abroad.

A new generation of African publishers

Most of the contributors to this volume have interacted with Henry Chakava at professional, academic, and personal levels over several decades, and many are seasoned observers of the African publishing scene. It would have been good to have contributions from one or two new voices as well, from among the new generation of African book professionals that have emerged in recent years. Indeed, perhaps one of the most noteworthy developments over the past two decades has been the arrival of quite a substantial number of small independent publishers with literary lists, mostly fiction including romance and popular fiction, but also poetry, and some non-fiction. Not surprisingly, very few of them have thus far ventured into the volatile educational and textbook publishing markets, but it is a whole new generation of enterprising publishers with a mission of transforming the African literary and publishing scene, and who have demonstrated a great deal of creativity and agility.

Some of these new imprints have started off with an initial focus on high-quality literary fiction and non-fiction (as well as children’s books), but are now increasingly turning to publishing in areas with more of a mass appeal, in order to reach a broader and potentially more rewarding audience, and reaching them through new and affordable modes of delivery, through mobiles and smart phones. Some have launched digital imprints, thus overcoming potential distribution bottlenecks within Africa. These publishers will continue to face significant challenges of limited capacity and reach, but their lean structures also means, as Emma Shercliff aptly put it6, “that they are amongst the most nimble, creative and experimental publishers operating anywhere in the world.”

The emergence of a new generation of African publishers notwithstanding, the growth of the African book industries has primarily been in the area of school textbooks; and the vast majority of turnover by the medium or large-size educational publishing houses is still generated by textbook sales. With the attraction of steady income streams from textbook sales, and the sometimes huge amounts of government or other funding that is associated with educational publishing, it is not surprising that many of these publishers direct much of their energy and resources towards textbook production, rather than publication of general books and creative writing.

The smaller new African imprints would probably find it very difficult, if not impossible, to penetrate the lucrative textbook markets, but I suspect at the same time they may also find it difficult to prosper and survive in the longer term on revenue generated through general publishing alone. The lack of an effective retail/bookselling infrastructure, the under-development of reading habits, and chronically and shamefully underfunded public library services are some of the main obstacles they continue to face, not to mention having to operate in extremely difficult trading conditions, in an unstable and largely unregulated market, and with the constant threat of piracy of their books.

The rise of self-publishing

Another significant development has been the dramatic growth of self-publishing over the last decade or more, and it could be said that self-publishing is now becoming of age in the digital world. The obstacles of aspiring African writers getting their work published are now alleviated through self-publishing in both print and electronic formats. African writers – perhaps rather more so than African publishers – are increasingly embracing digital, and there are now an enormous number of self-published authors. Indeed, the rise of digital publishing, e-readers and tablets has generated a blossoming of a huge number of African self-publishers, who previously were unable to reach a global market place without the intermediary of a publisher.

This might well be considered a welcome development – particularly in terms of encouraging reading for pleasure – but there is also a downside: While advances in technology and the new digital environment have allowed authors to take control of some or even all parts of the publishing process, there are many potential pitfalls, and many self-published books are seriously flawed in their standards of writing, and hastily published without due care. When one purchases a book published conventionally by a publisher, one can reasonably expect that it would have been subject to some scrutiny, editing, re-writing, and proofreading, before it was released onto the world. That is not the case with many self-published books, where the author alone has decided on its merits, and invariably thinks all the world will want to read it! Aspiring writers are constantly told that by publishing in e-book format they will reach audiences no conventional publisher could ever reach, and there are large number of blogs and websites offering advice for start-up writers, who will tell them that they can make millions through self-publishing. The reality is of course something else.

Henry Chakava’s contribution to publishing and the book in Africa is immense and lasting, as is his engagement in helping to stimulate the growth of contemporary African literature over several decades. This collection of papers represents a fitting tribute to his long-time commitment to strengthen the indigenous book industries on the continent. The book is an essential purchase for all those interested in publishing and the state of the book in Africa, for African studies libraries, and for library collections on publishing and book history.

Notes and references

1 Tumusiime, James R. What Makes Africans Laugh? Reflections of an Entrepreneur in Humour, Media and Culture. Kampala: Fountain Publishers, 2014. Chapter 7: ‘Between the Cathedral and the Stock Market’. See also book review of this book by Hans M. Zell, The African Book Publishing Record 41, no. 2 (2015): 137.

Online, pre-print version

2 Chakava, Henry “African Publishing: From Ile-Ife, Nigeria, to the Present.” In [Introductory essay] Publishing, Books and Reading in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Critical Bibliography by Hans M. Zell. Lochcarron: Hans Zell Publishing, 2008. pp. xxxvii-l.

3 ibid.

4 Source: International Publishers Association. VAT/GST on Books and E-books. An IPA/FEP Gobal Special Report. 20 July 2015.

5 Zell, Hans M., and Raphaël Thierry “Book Donation Programmes for Africa: Time for a Reappraisal? Two Perspectives.” African Research & Documentation. Journal of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa), no. 127 (2015) [Published July 2016]: 3-137 (part I), 139-215 (part II).

Pre-print versions are freely accessible at

Part I: Book Donation Programmes in English-speaking Africa, by Hans M. Zell

Part II: Le don de livre, mais à quel prix, et en échange de quoi? Un regard sur le don de livre en Afrique francophone [Book donations, but at what price, and in exchange for what? An overview of book donation practice in francophone Africa] by Raphaël Thierry (In French, with an abstract in English)

6 Shercliff, Emma The Valentine’s Day Anthology: A Snapshot of the Possibilities and Challenges of African Publishing., another version also at