E-Books in Africa

_71429598_worldreaderimage2The BBC recently reported on Africa’s switch into the Digital Publishing era through their possible use of e-books. Publishers have long been frustrated at the lack of literary culture in Africa, but have found their hope renewed with smartphones and tablets on the up rise.

Since the year 2000 Africa’s online activity has increased by 3,606% meaning that 160 million people are now connected to the internet

It’s often difficult to print books in Africa due to a lot of unreliable services but having a digital outlet means that this is no longer a problem. Cassava Republic’s Jeremy Weate said “We don’t have to worry about printing, warehousing, distribution or engaging in fruitless marathons across the continent for payments that will never come”

With charities giving children and schools access to iPads and e-readers, it means that e-books are far more accessible to them than paper and hardbacks. It gives the people of Africa the opportunity to read anything they want rather than relying on the few books that they can obtain.

‘Statistics depicting Worldreader’s efforts too are commendable, having delivered more than 70,000 ebooks among 13,000 children in nine countries in the African continent.’

‘Digital Publishing is a win-win-win’ Amanda Barbara, Pubslush

Pubslush gives authors everywhere the opportunity to be published digitally which is a real revolution in Africa, allowing an equal chance to anyone wanting to write. This is definitely a positive in the list of things to consider.

Kids and Barca1However there are some criticisms, with a lot of people believing that ‘cultural imperialism‘ is at work. Is the Western world forcing this technology onto those who live better without it? Of course we are led to believe that reading more is a gift and that everyone should embrace it, but we have to question whether it will diminish the African culture already existing.

Dr L.N. Ikpaahindi discusses the prospects and challenges of Digital Publishing in West Africa here

Bring Storytime Back

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Harper Collins Executive Chief, Charlie Redmayne has told publishers to ‘take storytelling back from digital rivals.‘ On Thursday he’ll be at a conference talking about how publishers have allowed the digital industry to take over their role of storytelling.

He believes that they can ‘take their space back‘ by making products more available in other medias, such as gaming and apps. One of the most creative industries in the world have faltered after their developments into e-books, they believe that this is far enough into the digital revolution. Are they right? Will publishers survive the oncoming era? I believe that books will always live on but there will be a point in which the companies will suffer from the move into technological story telling. They need to be available to everyone through many different means, providing outlets for not just readers but gamers and those less comfortable in bookshops.

One of the first things Redmayne said when he started at H.C. was ‘I am a book person and I am passionate about books’ but ‘If you haven’t got great books, it doesn’t matter how good you are in digital or marketing, you have nothing’

Jennifer Rankin, writer for the Guardian, has written more on the subject here.

Another good article discussing this statement

Is it Farewell to our Beloved Paperback?

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Because of my love of books I had always been adamant that I would never succumb to the technological revolution that is the e-book, but after being given a Kindle last Christmas I found my resolve wavering. Throughout the day I examined my new toy and despite myself I was excited by what I found. As a fan of the classics I was pleased to discover that most of them came free, and I immediately found myself downloading several that caught my eye including ‘Les Miserables‘, ‘Northanger Abbey‘, and ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘. The more I looked the more I came to realise the Kindle isn’t the horror to literature as I thought. As a student I find it difficult to afford all the books I want to read but here was a cheaper way to expand my novel collection. Not too long afterwards I was downloading ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘ and more recently Veronica Roth‘s ‘Divergent‘ series. I find that it works well as a tester, if I fall in love with the story it will be then that I purchase the real book.

I can now also see how this technology can benefit the public, it makes people excited to read again; everyone wants to be up to date with latest gadgets and having this available makes it fashionable to have your nose stuck in a book. The possibilities of this revolution are endless.

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However just because I now know that there are benefits to the e-book doesn’t mean I’m a full convert. One of the joys of reading comes from purchasing a beautifully bound story where you can feel the roughness of the paper in your fingertips; the warm, musty, smell is such a pleasure to anyone who loves the written word. It is for this reason that I believe we will not be saying goodbye to the paperback any time soon. There is too much love for the literal book that it won’t be allowed to be lost to computers. It will forever be left to the public to save it.