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Insight into Books and Libaries


Bibi Bakare-Yusuf - Publisher, Cassava Republic
(extract from article by Tolu Ogunlesi)

“E-books will be an effective platform from which Africa-based publishers can capture the Diaspora market. But then there’s a strategic caution at work - I don’t want to do e-books for the sake of ebooks. It’s important to think as well about digital strategy (pricing, “access” and marketing) especially in a developing market like Nigeria’s. It is important to ask and answer the question: “Why should [African consumers] buy an e-book and not a print copy.””

Henry Chakava - Kenyan publisher

“There is talk in the North about a ‘bookless’ society, meaning a post-book society, while for us in Africa ‘bookless’ societies are indeed pre-book societies.”


Benjamin William Mkapa - President of Tanzania (1995–2005)

“Education is not a tool to dismember us from our traditional societies but a tool to better adapt our traditional societal values to new knowledge and the requirements of modern times ... Before African writers, authors and publishers can begin to see the book industry in these terms all efforts at promoting a truly indigenous publishing capacity will not succeed."

Walter Bgoya - Tanzanian publisher

“Three scenarios for the future of publishing in Africa are easily discernible: one, African publishing playing an insignificant role, the source of books and reading material remaining external, and indigenous publishers playing a mediating role between the “European” publisher/producer and the African book market; second, African publishing becoming modestly successful through a long period of trial and error; and third, African publishing playing its full role following a realisation of its strategic importance in the overall development of a country and its being accorded special support."

"We are constantly told by governments that agriculture is the backbone of African economies, although agriculture is in fact extremely weak. I don’t know whether publishing is the collar bone or which bone it is, but we need to find a way of persuading governments to take us seriously."

Mr EN Mthethwa - Minister of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa

“Libraries are places that must be open for everyone, catering for people with disabilities, rural citizens, the jobless and the incarcerated. Our society will only move forward when all our people experience an ever increasing access to information in different kinds of formats. It is a challenge to keep up with the demand.”

R. David Lankes - Professor at Syracuse's iSchool

“The image of the library as a book palace, crammed to the rafters with things to read, and that being its sole purpose is a modern invention. It's about a 60 year old invention.”

Thomas Frey - Futurist

“The spectrum of human need is continually expanding. So as the spectrum of human need grows, the opportunities for libraries to meet these needs is also growing. However, ‘needs’ are a moving target, so the library of the future will need to be designed to accommodate the changing needs of its constituency.”

Jeff Krull - Former director of the Allan County Public Library

“We see the library as not being in the book business, but being in the learning business, and the exploration business, and the expand-your-mind business. We feel this is really in that spirit, that we provide a resource to the community that individuals would not be able to have access to on their own.”

Arthur Goldstuck - MD World Wide Worx

“The printed textbook is dead. It just doesn't know it yet. It does, however, require a re-education for all teachers on how to best leverage the electronic medium, as opposed to a paper-based medium. In the long-term, it will do away with great expense for schools and parents, and great inconvenience for the student.”

Riccardo Cavallero - General Manager of the Mondadori Group's Trade Books

"In a close future it is the reader who will call the shots. This means that the publisher will have to open up to the world and react more rapidly ... Books will be thought, written, published and sold in a different way, leading publishers to become sort of librarians; not selling, but lending.”


Nick Harkaway - Novelist, writing for FutureBook

“Books are now in competition for leisure time with a bunch of other media which are louder and in many ways more passive/consumptive.”


David Lankes - Librarian Futurist

“So it’s not ‘What IS the future of libraries’, it’s ‘What SHOULD BE the future of libraries’. What do we want? And that’s not a buildings determination, and that’s not a City Councils determination completely, that’s our determination, to be proactive…"

"The greatest threat to librarianship is not Amazon, or Google, or dot-whatever : it is a lack of imagination. It is a lack of aspiration. It is the belief that what you do defines why you do it. That is not the case…"

Gerd Leonhard - Keynote Speaker, Media Futurist & Author, CEO of The Futures Agency

“80% of the cost of a book has nothing to do with the content”


Geordie Williamson - Chief literary critic of The Australian

“It is oddly comforting to discover that, from the book’s inception, we have been anxious about its changing role.”


Charles Catton - Publishing Manager, Amber Books

“Publishing will need to become more professional, resulting in an upward pressure on salaries as publishers compete with games publishers and television companies for staff.”

"The greatest opportunity for publishers is the ability to reach people who don’t visit bookshops – but now they are competing with other entertainment providers."



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