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