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Third edition

Updated and expanded as at January 2024

About the project:
This disciplinary repository on publishing, book culture, and the book sector in Africa was originally planned to form part of ‘Publishing & Book Culture in Africa’, a virtual network bringing together publishing researchers/educators across Africa. To serve as a platform of linking researchers, as well as a way of accessing databases of information about publishing in Africa, and to provide information about ongoing and past projects, including those generated by current research projects. As part of a wide range of resources to be made available, Hans Zell was commissioned to create the repository.

Unfortunately, the launch of the network, and its website, has had to be postponed because one of the main initiators of the project was involved in a very serious accident back in 2021, from which she has not yet sufficiently recovered, and is unable to continue with the project. No date is currently available when it will commence activities.

Access the 2024 third and expanded edition here

The repository aims to provide quick access to key literature about the many aspects of book culture, publishing, and book development in Sub-Saharan Africa generally, and at the same time provide a kind of mapping of the past. It currently offers free access to over 1,200 fully and critically annotated records. In terms of coverage emphasis is on fairly recent studies (2000-2023), and those that, for the most part, are accessible online. A selection of earlier studies and documents on the African book industries (1960-1999) have also been included, with an emphasis on those available online. A good number of these – mainly articles and studies published in journals – have now become available in digital formats, while some others (books, collections, or conference proceedings) that are now long out-of-print, should still be accessible in major academic and university libraries.

At this time, scope and coverage is limited to literature about publishing, book development, and book history and culture, in anglophone sub-Saharan Africa. It is hoped that the repository can be further expanded in the near future by the inclusion of new material on a regular and systematic basis; collected, analysed, and written up by way of collaborative curation of the repository, and henceforth also to include records in French.

For more details about criteria for inclusion, scope and type of material covered, arrangement and classification, the nature of annotations, search facilities, etc., please consult the Introduction (see pp. 5-14).

About Hans M. Zell:
Hans Zell has been author, editor, and publisher on African topics for over five decades, and has written extensively on many aspects of publishing and the book sector in Africa. In addition to numerous articles and studies published in journals, he is also the author of several books, training manuals, and African studies reference resources. He was the founder of the quarterly bibliographic and book trade journal The African Book Publishing Record, which he started in 1975 and edited until 2002. In a part-time capacity, he was the Senior Consultant to African Books Collective Ltd from 1986 to 1995, and between 1979 and 1995 also acted as the Secretary to the Managing Committee (the Jury) of the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.