Reports on the publishing world

Publishing in Africa: Where Are We Now? An Update for 2019, by Hans M Zell

Read here the pre-print version uploaded on 21 May 2019

Final version, to be published in two parts, in Logos: Journal of the World Publishing Community (

Part I: Volume 30 (2019): Issue 3, Part II: Volume 30 (2019): Issue 4

Reprinted with permission of the author.
Copyright © Hans Zell Publishing Consultants 2019

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Les éditeurs d’Afrique francophone sur l’échiquier du “glocal” (1980-2019), by Raphaël Thierry


In terms of languages, markets and labels, African publishing represents a field of constant discourse. It also continually questions not just the way we look at books, but also our relationship with them and with the international publishing industry. The time has long passed when the leading discourse on publishing in Africa was devoted primarily to a “book famine” related to the African economic crisis of the 1980s. Over the past three decades, the African book market has done nothing but grow on the continent, diversifying its increasingly dense and transnational production through the circulation of books and of publishing information. Nonetheless, quite often African publishing is presented in terms of the difficulties faced by its stakeholders, rather than those stakeholders’ agency, their capacity to develop their markets. Indeed, history has shown that the African publishing industry is a mirror of the globalisation of publishing and of its economic flux. That being the case, the economic challenges that one can observe in the African industry is thus a reflection of the imbalances, alternatives – also margins – of a world of books that is increasingly concentrated. In this sense, African publishing invites a two-fold interrogation: in Africa it must advocate a cultural and economic legitimacy within evolving socio-political situations and an outward-looking educational market. Internationally, it must position itself in terms of non-African publishing of literature and non-fiction that makes up the majority of African intellectual production in the world. By examining the discourse around African books, African publishers’ discourse, and the evolution of African books in French since the 1980’s, this article aims to question the relationship between the book industry in Africa and the globalisation of books phenomenon in order to bring to light a network of exchanges, tensions, and influences that turns the African book market into a veritable “glocal” space.

Read the article here (in French).

Thierry, R. (2019). Les éditeurs d’Afrique francophone sur l’échiquier du « glocal »
(1980-2019). Mémoires du livre / Studies in Book Culture, 10 (2).

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Publishing & the Book in Africa: A Literature Review for 2018, by Hans M. Zell

Publishing & the Book in Africa: A Literature Review for 2018
The fourth 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.

Read the pre-print version here.

To be published in The African Book Publishing Record, Volume 44, Issue 2, (May 2019)

Reprinted with permission of the author.
Copyright © Hans Zell Publishing Consultants 2019

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African Book Industry Data & the State of African National Bibliographies, by Hans M. Zell

African Book Industry Data & the State of African National Bibliographies:
Read the Pre-print version here.

Published in The African Book Publishing Record, Volume 44, Issue 4 (Dec 2018): 363-389.

Reprinted with permission of the author.
Copyright © Hans Zell Publishing Consultants 2018

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Publishers & Books, African Observatory of professional publishers (OAPE)

Publishers & Books, a monthly specialized magazine, produced and published by the African Observatory of Professional Publishers (OAPE). Articles are in French and/or in English.

See here the first issue (June 2018);

And below the second issue (July 2018) and the third issue (August 2018).

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Digital printing of books in West and Central Africa and Madagascar

Feasibility study on the establishment of digital printing structures for independent publishers, by Gilles Colleu (November 2017)

Among the 80 recommendations of the International Assembly of independent publishers (2012-2014), independent publishers called on public authorities and international organisations to “contribute and support the establishment of in-country digital printers and printing facilities, on demand (including in sub-Saharan African) to promote access to books”.

The Alliance thus launched a feasibility study in 2016, on the establishment of digital printing facilities in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Above all, the aim was to find out whether digital printing is a relevant alternative, and on what conditions. To do so, the study surveys the needs of local professionals, and discusses the potentials and benefits as well as limitations inherent to digital printing, based on realities and practices of Francophone publishers from sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Finally, it discusses the feasibility scenarios for the establishment of a digital printing hub.

By focusing on the technical aspect of digital printing as well as on the development potential in a Francophone African context, this study goes beyond a feasibility study and proposes reflection points on the economic and strategic models of independent publishing.

This study was supported by the International Organisation of Francophonie. A full version of the study is available to members of the Alliance.
For questions or comments, please contact the team of the Alliance.

Gilles COLLEU, author of the study
Former lecturer at the University Institute of Technology “Book Trade” in Aix-en-Provence, former Director of production and digital publishing for Actes Sud, Gilles Colleu established and manages, with Jutta Hepke, Vents d’ailleurs (La Roque d’Anthéron, France), member of the International Alliance of independent publishers. He co manages the digital printing hub Yenooa and incubator Rue des éditeurs and actively participates in the Digital Lab of the Alliance (tutorials, training).

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Publishing in Persian Language, a groundbreaking study on publishing in the Persian language

Publishing in Persian language presents a comprehensive and current overview of publishing in Persian language, in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, but also in the diaspora in Europe and the United States.
Articles, penned by Ali Amiri, Beytolah Biniaz, Masoud Hosseinipour, Farid Moradi, Laetitia Nanquette and Dilshad Rakhimov, enable an understanding of editorial markets through historical, economic, political and cultural perspectives.
This study sheds light on the work and publishing list of several independent publishers in Persian language, and thus enabling professional and intercultural exchanges.
Publishing in Persian language is available in Persian and English, and openly accessible on the Website of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, in PDF, ePub and MOBI formats.

Summary of the study:
• Introduction, Beytolah Biniaz
• History of publishing in Iran, Farid Moradi
• Panorama of independent publishing in Iran, Farid Moradi
• Structure of the book market in Iran, Farid Moradi
• Cultural exchanges and translations between Iran and France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, Laetitia Nanquette
• Persian language publishers in Europe, Farid Moradi
• Publishing in Afghanistan, Ali Amiri
• Panorama of publishing in Tajikistan, Dilshad Rakhimov
• Publishing in Persian language in Uzbekistan, Farid Moradi and Masoud Hosseinipour

Publishing in Persian language, “État des lieux de l’édition” collection (Reports on the publishing world), International Alliance of independent publishers, 2015.
ISBN: 978-2-9519747-7-7 (Persian version)
ISBN: 978-2-9519747-8-4 (English version)

Publishing in Persian language was made possible through the support of the Prince Claus Fund. We thank all contributors, publishers, and professionals who participated to this collective endeavour –and particularly Sonbol Bahmanyar for the coordination of the study.

Collection État des lieux de l’édition

Zip - 3.7 Mb
Read the study in MOBI format_in Persian

Zip - 3 Mb
Read the study in MOBI format_in English

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Digital publishing in developing countries

In partnership with the Prince Claus Foundation, the Alliance commissioned Octavio Kulesz, a digital publisher in Argentina, to carry out a study on digital publishing in developing countries. This first-ever study, the result of eight months of research, is available in French, English and Spanish on the website:

Who are the new digital players in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab world and in Russia, China and India? Can digital publishing develop autonomously in the emerging economies, independently from the rich countries? What support policies are required to stimulate the growth of this new industry and help the traditional publishing sector adapt to the changes? Based on interviews, questionnaires and meetings, Octavio Kulesz provides an overview of digital publishing in these six regions and puts forward concrete proposals aimed at independent publishers. Digital publishing experience in the South offers an insight into the major opportunity that new technologies present for developing countries — especially when it comes to distribution — as long as local entrepreneurs seek innovative models suited to the concrete needs of their communities.

This online study is ongoing and interactive. We invite your contributions and feedback.

The study is also available in PDF, EPUB and MOBI.

Year of publication: 2011; ISBN French version: 978-2-9519747-5-3; ISBN Spanish version: 978-2-9519747-4-6; ISBN English version: 978-2-9519747-6-0

Visit the Alliance Lab to read the update to the study written by Octavio Kulesz in 2016 (available in French and in Spanish).

Collection État des lieux de l’édition

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Book trade between Spain and Latin America

This study, available in Spanish, was carried out as an International Alliance of independent publishers exclusive by Elena Enríquez Fuentes (Mexico) in 2008.

Her work demonstrates that there is a considerable bias in the trading of books between Spain and Latin America. This assertion is based on the analysis of exports and imports between Spain and Latin America in 2006 and 2007.

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Éditer dans l’espace francophone (Publishing in the French-speaking world)

A thorough report by Luc Pinhas, in French

Why do books have such restricted circulation in the French-speaking world? Which way does the flow go and which are one-way streets? What current legislation encourages publishing and the marketing of works? Are public policies sufficient? What setbacks are encountered in the marketing of works? Luc Pinhas draws a comprehensive portrait of the state of publishing, including legislation, circulation, distribution and marketing of books in the French-speaking world. This dossier, featuring entries on many themes and geographic locations, provides a complete overview of local realities, illustrated with telling examples. After analysing measures that states, associations and syndicates of publishing and book-store professionals have implemented, the author puts forward some proposals to fuel a much-needed debate. To achieve this and to hear what the main players had to say, especially with regard to the South, a fruitful survey was conducted at the Ouagadougou book fair in November 2004, in partnership with the international Association of French-speaking Bookstore Managers (AILF) - []

Year of publication: 2005, 288 pages, 15 X 21 cm, ISBN: 978-2-9519747-1-X

Collection État des lieux de l’édition

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