[T/A Hans Zell Publishing Consultants]

Obaakofo Mmu Man - one man does not rule a nation

'Obaakofo Mmu Man' Kente cloth above courtesy of Kwadwo Boahene



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"A tradition of excellence in African studies reference resources"

Please note our publishing activities have now ceased,
although we are still able to supply a very limited number of backlist titles, subject to stocks lasting.  We will continue to maintain these web pages to report about new articles and resources,
 as well as about some other activities.
For the time being we will also retain our Lochcarron and Wester Ross pages and links.


Book Donation Programmes for Africa: Time for a Reappraisal? Two Perspectives.
Part I:  Book Donation Programmes in English-speaking Africa
by Hans M. Zell
Book aid is complex, problematic, and sometimes controversial, but the literature and research on book donation programmes for Africa is still surprisingly scant. This is a wide-ranging, extensively documented, two-part investigation into book donation programmes in Africa. It attempts to shed more light on current book donation practices and provides an overview and profiles of the work of the principal book aid organizations active in sub-Saharan Africa; describing how they differ in their approach and strategies, donation philosophy, selection policies, their methods of shipping and local distribution, the quantities of books they are shipping annually, as well as their processes of monitoring and evaluation. A number of small-scale book donation and library support projects are reviewed separately, as are digital donations in the form of e-reading devices preloaded with e-books.

The article aims to provide a balanced account, presenting a variety of viewpoints about both the benefits and the potential negative consequences of book aid. In particular, the study seeks to find out how many African-published books are included in current donation schemes. As part of a review of the recent literature on the topic, it examines the ongoing debate between the proponents of book donation schemes, and those who disapprove of the programmes; who maintain that they are not meeting the needs of the recipients and the target countries for the most part, and have an adverse impact on the local publishing industries and the ‘book chain’. The article also questions why large scale book donation programmes should continue to be necessary today, after millions of books have been shipped and donated to African libraries, schools and other recipients every year over the last three decades or more. It looks at the status and role of chronically under-resourced African libraries and, in the absence of adequate government support, their continuing dependence on book donation programmes and other external assistance. A concluding section summarizes the findings of the study and makes a number of recommendations, in particular as they relate to the inclusion of African-published books in donation programmes.

Part II: Le don de livre, mais à quel prix, et en échange de quoi? Un regard sur le don de livre en Afrique francophone [Book donations, but at what price, and in exchange for what?] by Raphaël Thierry 
(in French, with abstract in English)

Part II of this study presents an overview of book donation practice in French-speaking Africa. It examines the relationship between book donations and the publishing markets in francophone Africa as part of an attempt to analyse the evolution of North/South relations through its book markets, which has been intrinsically linked to an institutional history of cooperative relations between African countries and international agencies since the dawn of independence. Book donations, imported through a variety of agencies and organizations, occupy a historic place in francophone Africa, and have contributed to an omnipresence of Northern publishers.  Meanwhile African publishers’ output is usually limited to perhaps 10% of the books stocked and available for sale in local bookshops. And it is the same picture for school textbooks, heavily dominated and monopolized by, and over 80% the products of foreign publishers, mostly French.

Now freely accessible
Web search for local communities in the Highlands of Scotland: An online self-tutoring guide
This publication reflects a departure from our traditional publishing programme of reference resources on Africa and African studies. 
Published primarily for local communities in the Highlands of Scotland, this self-tutoring guide and online learning resource is designed to assist you to acquire Web search and evaluation skills, learn about tips and techniques that will improve your searching, and how to explore the Web as a rich information resource. The guide focuses on Google and how to acquire ?Google literacy?, and enables users to learn more about the numerous Google products, tools, and applications, and how to get the most out of Google?s many search services, whether for personal, leisure, or business interests. 

Additionally, the guide also describes a diverse range of other Web search tools that are worth exploring as an alternative or as an adjunct to Google, together with an annotated listing of 100 outstanding websites and resources, grouped under a number of topic headings. The guide consists of a package of 4 self-tutoring modules in PDF format ? each liberally illustrated with screenshots of Google pages and many other websites and resources.
Since January 2013 it is now freely accessible without password and without the need to register. 

The African Studies Companion: A Guide to Information Sources
Print and online
4th revised and expanded edition 
by Hans M. Zell 
The fourth edition of this sine qua non of African studies reference works, thoroughly revised and updated, and greatly expanded. The new edition includes several entirely new sections to further enhance the utility of this rich information resource. It contains a total of over 2,900 for the most part extensively annotated entries, providing a wide array of specifics for each entry. 

The 4th edition print edition is now out-of-print.

Online version of the 4th edition (2006) 
Now free access!

Click here for the new updated edition (2012) 
(paid access, now published by Brill)

Other titles currently available:

Publishing, Books & Reading in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Critical Bibliography
Print and online. Continually updated online. 
by Hans M. Zell With an introductory essay by Henry Chakava

This much acclaimed reference resource charts the growth of publishing and book development in the countries of Africa south of the Sahara, as well as containing a very large number of entries on many other topics as they relate to books and reading in Africa, including digital media and electronic publishing. 

The online version offers access to a database that has now grown to almost 2,800 records at this time, making it the most comprehensive documentation, and ongoing analysis, of the state of the book sector and the ?book chain? in Africa. The database is updated and expanded with many new entries three or four times a year, all with abstracts or critical annotations, and covering books, articles, studies, reports, theses, and Internet documents that have been published since the cut-off date of the 2008 print edition. Select blog postings, as well as video recordings and radio/TV broadcasts are now also included on a regular basis. Additionally, frequent updates are made to listings of organizations and African book professional associations, and agencies, networks, book charities, etc. supporting the book and information sector in Africa.

Africa: A Guide to Reference Material 
2nd revised and expanded edition 
by John McIlwaine, Professor Emeritus of the Bibliography of Asia and Africa, School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London
First published in 1993, this is a new revised and substantially expanded edition of a highly acclaimed reference resource that evaluates the leading sources of information (other than bibliographies) on Africa South of the Sahara. The second edition contains 3,600 for the most part annotated entries, covering encyclopaedias, dictionaries, directories, handbooks, atlases and gazetteers, almanacs, yearbooks, topographic reference sources, directories of organizations, as well as biographical and statistical sources.

Consultancy services
We provide consultancy services to publishers and academic institutions, especially the book community in Africa. We specialize in scholarly publishing, journal publishing management, reference book publishing, and marketing and promotion. 

More about our consultancy services ?


More about us and our consultancy services
About Hans M. Zell
Publishing, Books &
Reading in Sub-Saharan 
Africa: A Critical 
Africa: A Guide to
Reference Material
The African Studies Companion: A Guide to Information Sources
Web search for local communities in the Highlands of Scotland: An online self-tutoring guide 
Old Hans Zell
backlist titles
Some recent books and articles by 
Hans M. Zell
Read review extracts 
about Hans Zell

News & Press
Press Releases
Publish with us
Manuscript proposals
Some Lochcarron & Wester Ross links


[T/A Hans Zell Publishing Consultants]

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