Call Us: 555-555-1234

The list below provides details of recent articles and studies on various aspects of publishing and book development in Africa.

All these papers, as well as a number published in earlier years, are now freely accessible at https://independent.academia.edu/HansZell.

 “African Book Industry Data & the State of African National Bibliographies.”
Pre-print online version (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/37581588/African_Book_Industry_Data_and_the_State_of_African_National_Bibliographies
Print version to appear in The African Book Publishing Record, Volume 44, Issue 4 (Dec 2018) https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/abpr
Abstract:
No less than three international meetings on publishing in Africa have taken place recently, which have been followed with detailed action plans. Among many other recommendations, calls for action to find solutions to perennial problems, as well as discussions focusing on sectorial innovation and revitalization of the African book industries, participants in all three meetings were strongly urged to start collecting and disseminating book industry data. It is true that reliable figures of book publishing output for the continent of Africa do not exist at the present time, with the exception of a very small number of countries, notably South Africa and Morocco.  Meantime the state of African national bibliographies, which can form the groundwork of book industry data, presents a picture of neglect for the most part, with many national bibliographies seriously in arrears, currently dormant, or having ceased publication altogether. Only a small number are accessible in digital formats.

Book publishing data and book production statistics are important elements in measuring the growth and vitality of indigenous publishing in any part of the world. In the absence of such data for most of the African continent, there is a need for research, analysis, documentation, and systematic gathering of current, reliable data and statistics on the whole book sector in Africa. However, there are huge challenges and complexities in the goal of collecting data for book industry surveys, which must not be underestimated.  Many questions will need to be asked: for example, how is data going to be collected and analysed; what will be the parameters; and what are going to be the sources and the methods? Who should be responsible for undertaking the research and the compilation of such book industry data; and, crucially, who is going to fund the research and the data gathering process on a systematic and ongoing basis?

Collecting book industry data is closely interrelated with the publication of national bibliographies and, in addition to examining the issues and challenges relating to the creation of book industry statistics, this paper also provides an analysis of the current state of national bibliographies in Africa, as well as linked matters such as legal deposit legislation, and compliance of legal deposit. Most national libraries and bibliographic agencies in Africa continue to operate under severe constraints, and have been chronically underfunded by their governments for the past four decades or more. An analysis of the current status of African national bibliographies sadly presents a dismal picture.

It is unlikely that reliable data for the African book industries can be collected and published without the input and full cooperation of national libraries or bibliographic agencies. There is equally an urgent need for much more active collaboration and interaction between the agencies producing national bibliographies with publishers and book trade associations in each African country. Any attempts to revive the fortunes of African national libraries, and the resumption of publication of high quality and timely national bibliographies, will amount to a formidable task. This paper offers a range of suggestions and recommendations how the situation might be addressed and improved, but also points out that regular compilation of a national bibliography, and effective maintenance of legal deposit, necessitates adequate staff in terms of both numbers and expertise, which is not the case at this time.


“Publishing in African Languages: A Review of the Literature.”
African Research & Documentation. Journal of SCOLMA -The UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa, no. 132, 2018: 3-90.

Also at (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/36334936/Publishing_in_African_Languages_A_Review_of_the_Literature.

This literature survey is an attempt to bring together some of the literature on an important and challenging, and one could well say neglected aspect of the African book sector, that of publishing in African languages. It aims to make a small contribution to the ongoing debate about publishing of indigenous language materials, how the profile of indigenous language publishing might be enhanced—and how publishing in African languages could be conducted as a societally beneficial, sustainable, and profitable commercial activity.

Following an introductory overview of current publishing in African languages – and a discussion of its many barriers to success – it lists a total of 170 records, covering the literature (in English) published since the 1970s and through to early 2018. Fully annotated and/or with abstracts, it includes books, chapters in books and edited collections, reports, journal articles, Internet documents, theses and dissertations, as well as a number of blog postings.


“Publishing & the Book in Africa: A Literature Review for 2017.”
The African Book Publishing Record 44, Issue 2 (May 2018): 116-167.
https://doi.org/10.1515/abpr-2018-0008

Also at (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/35877629/Publishing_and_the_Book_in_Africa_A_Literature_Review_for_2017

The third in a series of annual reviews of select new literature in English that has appeared on the topic of publishing and the book sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Extensively annotated and/or with abstracts, the present list brings together new literature published during the course of 2017, a total of 157 records. The literature review covers books, chapters in books and edited collections, journal articles, Internet documents and reports, theses and dissertations, interviews, audio/video recordings and podcasts, as well as a number of blog postings. Records are grouped under a range of regional/country and topic-specific headings.


“The African University Press – A Gloomy Picture.”
University World News Global Edition, Issue 475 (22 September 2017).
https://www.academia.edu/34690740/The_African_University_Press_-_A_Gloomy_Picture [with Appendix added]
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20170922175606239 [Original article]
Issue 475 of University World News http://www.universityworldnews.com/index.php?page=Africa_Edition reported about a meeting hosted by Witwatersrand University Press, held in Johannesburg on 30 August 2017, that brought together a number of African scholarly publishers to discuss a wide-ranging study undertaken by François van Schalkwyk and Thierry Lüscher entitled The African University Press https://zenodo.org/record/889744#.Wcdyr7J96pp. (The database that is part of this project can be found at http://code4sa.org/african-university-presses/#all.) One of the report’s recommendations was to set up a network of university presses, as well as other scholarly publishers, to be called African Monograph Publishers Network/AMPNet, intended as a network for collaboration, experience-sharing, and advocacy. The above UWN Special Report includes a general round-up of the meeting, accompanied by a series of articles and commentary contributed by some of the participants, including comments submitted by Hans Zell (slightly edited in this version), and to which an appendix, Pan-African and regional book professional organizations, groups, and networks in sub-Saharan Africa: An inventory, has been added.


“Publishing & the Book in Africa: A Literature Review for 2016.”
Pre-print online version (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/31441110/Publishing_and_the_Book_in_Africa_A_Literature_Review_for_2016
The African Book Publishing Record 43, no. 2 (2017): 120-170.
https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/abpr.2017.43.issue-2/abpr-2017-0004/abpr-2017-0004.xml?format=INT

This is the second in a series of annual reviews of select new literature in English that has appeared on the topic of publishing and book development in sub-Saharan Africa. Extensively annotated and/or with abstracts, the present list brings together new literature published during the course of 2016, a total of 164 items. The literature review covers books, chapters in books and edited collections, journal articles, Internet documents and reports, theses and dissertations, interviews, audio/video recordings and podcasts, as well as a number of blog postings, Records are grouped under a range of regional/country and topic-specific headings.


“Review Article: African Publishing Coming of Age.” 
Logos. Journal of the World Publishing Community 27, no. 3 (2016): 52-60.
http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/1878-4712-11112111
Pre-print online version (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/26872848/African_Publishing_Coming_of_Age._A_Review_Essay 
Also at http://www.readafricanbooks.com/reviews/african-publishing-coming-of-age

A book review essay of Coming of Age. Strides in African Publishing. Essays in Honour of Dr. Henry Chakava at 70, edited by Kiarie Kamau and Kirimi Mitambo. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 2016. (distributed by African Books Collective)

Indigenous Publishing in Africa – The Need for Research, Documentation, and Collaboration.  In: Coming of Age. Strides in African Publishing. Essays in Honour of Dr. Henry Chakava at 70, edited by Kiarie Kamau and Kirimi Mitambo. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers Ltd, 2016, 141-158.

Pre-print online version (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/24429073/Indigenous_publishing_in_Africa_the_need_for_research_documentation_and_collaboration (Pre-print version)


“Publishing & the Book in Africa: A Literature Review for 2015.”
Pre-print online version (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/20432811/Publishing_and_the_Book_in_Africa_-_A_Literature_Review_for_2015
Also in The African Book Publishing Record 42, no. 1 (March 2016): 11-37. [Published as “Reference Resources. Publishing and the Book in Africa – A Literature Review.”]
http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/abpr.2016.42.issue-1/abpr-2016-0003/abpr-2016-0003.xml?format=INT

The first in a series of annual reviews of select new literature in English that has appeared on the topic of publishing and book development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Book Donation Programmes Revisited.
http://www.readafricanbooks.com/opinions/book-donation-programmes-revisited (Posted November 2016)

This is a summary of a two-part study, “Book Donation Programmes for Africa: Time for a Reappraisal?” (see below) with extracts from its conclusions, and as well as offering some further thoughts on the topic.

“Book Donation Programmes for Africa: Time for a Reappraisal? Two Perspectives.” African Research & DocumentationJournal of SCOLMA - the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa no. 127 (2015) [Published 2017]: 3-130 (part I), 131-220 (part II).
Pre-print online version (freely accessible)
Part I:  Book Donation Programmes in English-speaking Africa, by Hans M. Zell
https://www.academia.edu/13165497/Book_Donation_Programmes_for_Africa_Time_for_a_Reappraisal_Part_I

Note: the pre-print version of the second part of this wide-ranging investigation into book donation programmes in Africa, 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, by Raphaël Thierry (in French, with an abstract in English), can be found at https://www.academia.edu/13166294/Le_don_de_livre_mais_%C3%A0_quel_prix_et_en_%C3%A9change_de_quoi_Book_donation_programmes_for_Africa_part_2_


“How Many Books are Published in Africa? The Need for More Reliable Statistics.” 
Pre-print online version (freely accessible) 
http://www.academia.edu/4549278/How_many_books_are_published_in_Africa_The_need_for_more_reliable_statistics

Also published in The African Book Publishing Record 39, no. 4 (2013): 397-406.
https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/abpr-2013-39-issue-4/abpr-2013-0009/abpr-2013-0009.xml?format=INT


“Oxford University Press in Postcolonial Africa: A Review Essay.” African Research & DocumentationJournal of SCOLMA - the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa no. 121 (2013): 69-75.
Pre-print online version (freely accessible)
http://www.academia.edu/4246145/Oxford_University_Press_in_Postcolonial_Africa_A_Review_Essay

Also published in The African Book Publishing Record 39, no. 4 (2013): 410-413.
This is a book review essay of Creating Postcolonial Literature. African Writers and British Publishers by Caroline Davis (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013).

“Print vs Electronic, and the ‘Digital Revolution’ in Africa.” (Pre-print online version published 04 January 2013. Last updated and expanded 28 January 2013)
http://www.academia.edu/2514725/Print_vs_Electronic_and_the_Digital_Revolution_in_Africa  

Also published in The African Book Publishing Record 39, 1 (2013): 1-19.
https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/abpr-2013-39-issue-1/abpr-2013-0001/abpr-2013-0001.xml?format=INT


"Publishing in Africa: Where Are We Now? Part One: Some Spurious Claims Debunked."
Logos. Forum of the World Book Community 19, no. 4 (2008): 187-195.
http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/logo.2008.19.4.187

Also at (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/2514809/Publishing_in_Africa_Where_Are_We_Now_Part_One_Some_Spurious_Claims_Debunked

"Publishing in Africa: Where Are We Now? Part Two: Accomplishments and Failures."
Logos. Forum of the World Publishing Community 20, nos. 1-4 (2009): 79-90. [published in 2010, as part of combined vol. 20, issue 1-4, now published by Brill]
http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/095796509x12777334632186

Also at (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/2514842/Publishing_in_Africa_Where_Are_We_Now_Part_Two_Accomplishments_and_Failures


"Reviewing Reviews-A Publisher's Perspective." African Research & Documentation, Journal of SCOLMA - the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa, no. 104 (2007): 9-13.

Also at (freely accessible)
https://www.academia.edu/2643913/Reviewing_Reviews_-_A_Publishers_Perspective


For earlier articles visit https://independent.academia.edu/HansZell.

Last updated 27 November 2018.