When Apple Inc launched the Ipad, and announced a month later that it had sold over 300,000 devices, I couldn’t help but wonder what this meant for African writers and publishers.
As ebooks increasingly take center stage, where will that leave your average African writer? How will readers with an interest in African writing discover emerging talent? And how much incentive will there be for ebooksellers like Amazon, Sony, Apple, Barnes and Noble and others to carry books on Africa, more so those authored by African writers? Will publishers like Penguin, Harper Collins, and others, come under commercial pressure to abandon their support for new world writing? From where I sit, there is a distinct possibility, that the world of ebooks, kindles, ipads and sony ereaders will make it even more difficult for African writers and publishers to go global, by limiting reader choices to a few popular bestsellers.
With limited readership in their home markets, African publishers and writers must move fast to embrace the brave new world of ebooks, and learn new ways to reach regional and global audiences, using technology and social media.