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Publishing of Books and Other Publications
South Africa has an established book publishing industry centred on educational content. The market for general trade books is small, and unlike in developed markets, where general books are sold in much larger volumes, local sales of 5,000 copies make a title a bestseller. South Africa’s weak reading culture is attributed to poverty, illiteracy, inadequate library services, inadequate distribution of books in rural and township areas and the paucity of titles in indigenous languages. Research indicates that the majority of South African residents are not interested in reading and South Africa ranks extremely poorly on literacy rankings.
Schools, universities and colleges are steadily transitioning to publications in electronic format, and digital publications are estimated to account for more than 50% of revenue derived from the sale of imported professional books. While the distribution of books in electronic format is a growth area, the distribution of printed books is in decline and many publishers have diversified their revenue streams. Local authors in growing numbers are using self-publishing and direct publishing platforms.
This report is on the publishing industry, which is primarily concerned with the publication, marketing and distribution of books and journals in print, audio and digital format. There is comprehensive information on the state of the industry, including key industry statistics, the effect of digital disruption, bestsellers and industry awards and the factors influencing the sector. There are profiles of 29 companies, including major publishers such as Pearson South Africa which is the largest player in the local educational publishing segment, and Media24, whose book publishing subsidiary NB Publishers is the market leader in the general books segment. Other profiles include Jacana Media, in which a consortium led by two publishers bought an 82% stake and Struik Christian Media, which publishes religious books.