International Publishers Association announces line-up for 2nd IPA Africa Seminar in Nairobi

If last year’s inaugural IPA Africa Seminar in Lagos was a much needed wake-up call to a global publishing industry that had largely ignored the world’s second largest continent, the 2nd incarnation in Nairobi in June will elevate the debate to the next level. From the IPA press release: Leading figures in African writing and Read More …

Tanzania’s 2018 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature sets the scene for the Kenya Swahili Literary Festival

Weeks before the first ever Swahili Literary Festival kicks off in Kenya in the first days of March comes news that the 2018 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature will be presented at a special event at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Friday. Brittle Paper reports that, The prize winners…Tanzanian Zainab Alwi Baharoon, Read More …

StreetLib completes January tranche of global expansion. 21 countries on 6 continents

When StreetLib launched The New Publishing Standard in September 2017 we made clear the function of the journal was to stimulate debate about the much-neglected global book markets. It was not a StreetLib promotional tool, and not a vehicle to advocate digital at the expense of traditional formats. But occasionally StreetLib becomes part of the Read More …

“A sweeping fantasy epic steeped in Pan-African history and folklore—one of the most anticipated books of the year.” Widely unavailable in Africa

That was the Wall Street Journal this week. Well, maybe not that last bit. What the Wall Street Journal actually said was, Four years after winning the Man Booker Prize, novelist Marlon James returns with a sweeping fantasy epic steeped in Pan-African history and folklore—and one of the most anticipated books of the year Sadly Read More …

“Realising Africa’s Potential as a Global Publishing Leader in the 21st century” will require abandoning 20th century attitudes towards publishing

The International Publishers Association Seminar on Sustainable Development for African Publishers 2019 will be hosted in Nairobi on June 14-15 with the theme “Realising Africa’s Potential as a Global Publishing Leader in the 21st Century.” James Murua has the scoop on this story, so I defer first to the James Murua African Literature Blog for Read More …

RadioBook Rwanda launches in Kenya with podcasts and print

RadioBook Rwanda is a collaboration between Rwanda’s Huza Press, Kenya’s Kwani Trust and the UK’s No Bindings that produces short stories by Rwandan writers in both print and digital podcast editions. James Murua explains  that the first RadioBook Rwanda publications were seen at a recent launch, featuring one of the writers Annick La Reine Shimwa as Read More …

Nigerian ebook and music aggregator Publiseer plans Egypt launch. Takes on Nathan Hull as adviser

It all seemed so unlikely. Twin brothers in Nigeria, one an author, one a musician, decide to distribute their and other artists contents through a micro-aggregator called Publiseer. Only launched in Lagos in August 2017, twins Chidi and Chika Nwaogu have since expanded their operation to Kenya, Ghana and most recently South Africa. Now we Read More …

Kenya’s Swahili Literary Festival 2019 set for Mombasa in March, but don’t get your hopes up to be selling Swahili ebooks on Amazon

A Swahili Literary Festival? Those who follow the African literary scene (or indeed follow TNPS) will be delighted, but not surprised, to learn this news. But many of us outside the continent or new to TNPS may be wondering what other literary surprises Africa has in store. It’s a reminder that there’s a big, wide Read More …

Nigerian music and ebook aggregator Publiseer launches in South Africa

Given the company’s name, Publiseer, from the Afrikaans word for “publish”, there was a logical inevitability that Publiseer would at some stage launch in South Africa. It just happened. South Africa joins Ghana and Kenya and home country Nigeria as Publiseer, the music and ebooks aggregator, continues on its mission to be a pan-African distributor. Read More …

Nigeria’s ebook distributor Publiseer launches in Kenya. South Africa next

It was barely six weeks ago that Publiseer, celebrating its first birthday, launched its first operation outside homeland Nigeria, with a virtual expansion west into Ghana. Nigeria’s ebook aggregator Publiseer launches in Ghana, the first step in its Pan-Africa expansion Now it heads east, into Kenya, with a further expansion south to South Africa planned. Read More …

Nigeria’s ebook aggregator Publiseer launches in Ghana, the first step in its Pan-Africa expansion

Publiseer may be small compared to western aggregators, but its mix-n-match ebooks and music approach has prove successful in Nigeria and to mark its first anniversary this month Publiseer has launched operations in Ghana In a statement marking the expansion, Publiseer co-founder (with brother Chika) Chidi Nwaogu, said, Ghana has an amazing music industry that Read More …

Kenya’s remarkable internet story is publishing’s opportunity

In the year 2000 there were just 200,000 people online in Kenya. By 2010 it had risen to almost 4 million. That in itself is an impressive number, giving Kenya in 2010 as many internet users as New Zealand or Ireland have today. Then smartphones arrived. And like many other African nations Kenya effectively by-passed Read More …

Two thirds of Kenyans pay to download online video. Almost none read ebooks. Proof Africans don’t read? No. Proof ebook retailers are looking the other way

It’s the twenty-first century. Even in Africa. And contrary to popular opinion, the internet is not only available across the continent but is shaping the continent’s future. This from IT News Africa this past week: If there was ever a time to watch progress in Africa, it would be now. As we have seen so Read More …

Africa’s book industry worth $1 billion and growing at 6% despite piracy and other challenges

It’s not easy being a publisher in sub-Saharan, and even five years ago it seemed to many to be a hopeless cause. But in 2018 we have the International Publishers Association landing in Lagos to hold a Regional Seminar for Africa, and while reports so far are sparse, and I’ll be coming back to update Read More …

Kenya Publishing Association launches quarterly e-journal. IPA holds regional seminar in Nigeria. Audiobooks in Ghana. The African Renaissance steps up a gear

2018 is proving to be a notable year for African publishing. NB: for the purposes of this essay I limit Africa to the sub-Saharan region. TNPS has on numerous occasions covered the Arab Renaissance that embraces North Africa and the Middle East. In Nigeria next week (May 9) the International Publishers Association will be holding Read More …

Micro-aggregators in Africa rise to meet growing demand from authors

Authors in the “First World” tend nowadays to take for granted that, even if they would really like a “trad-pub” deal and intend to try the agent-query route first, they have other options. Self-publishing is as simple as finishing the manuscript, providing a cover, and submitting the MS Word doc to a self-publishing portal such Read More …

Storymoja – a book in every hand

Kenya’s Daily Nation weekend lifestyle section carries an interview with Abukakar Adam Ibrahim, the Nigerian author of Season of Crimson Blossoms, which won the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2016, Africa’s richest literary prize. Abukakar Adam Ibrahim was in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in September for the Goethe Institut Literary Crossroads event, which featured two writers from two Read More …

Google boost Africa’s web prospects. Ebooks to follow?

  “They have the internet in Africa?” It’s a rhetorical question I’m often asked. Rhetorical because those asking it have just realised I’m posting on the internet from West Africa. The surprise is understandable. If and when we think of Africa, the antiquated Victorian term the Dark Continent may well spring to mind. Not, I Read More …

African sci fi, ebooks in Africa and other crazy notions

We’re a month away from the Aké Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria, and this year the African Speculative Fiction Society will be presenting the first annual Nommo Award for sci-fi. This hard on the heels of two sci-fi movies featuring at the Luxor African Film Festival earlier this year. Yes folks, the Global New Renaissance Read More …

“Nobody is rewarding writers so nobody wants to write” – the state of Nigerian literature

“Nobody is rewarding writers so nobody wants to write,” laments Morenike Taire over at Nigeria’s Vanguard, in a discussion about the latest Nobel Prize for literature. Taire continues, “The level of literature that is available is therefore abysmal in nature. There is no competition, no inspiration, no encouragement … Most of the books in which Read More …