The myth of the ‘book famine’ in African publishing, Elizabeth Le Roux, August, 2020

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References :
The myth of the ‘book famine’ in African publishing, Review of African Political Economy
DOI : 10.1080/03056244.2020.1792872
Elizabeth le Roux (2020)

Abstract :
The publishing industry in Africa is usually described in terms of ‘booklessness’, ‘hunger’ or ‘famine’. But does this language of scarcity reflect the realities of book production and consumption ? In this paper, the concept of ‘book famine’ is analysed as a central frame of discourse on African books, using a survey of existing documentation. Two ways of responding to book famine – provision and production – are identified, and the shortcomings of book aid (provision) are contrasted with strengthening local publishing industries (production). It is argued that the concept has become a cliché that is no longer relevant and that African publishing, while variable, is responding to local needs.