Friday, 19 October 2007

South African Author Boycotted?

Exclusive Books in Canal Walk, Cape Town, Boycotts Local Author.

In the latest news on the South African sales front, buyers in the Milnerton area of Cape Town are unable to purchase copies of T C Southwell’s heroic fantasy novel, due to the increasingly hostile South African market. This begs the question, are South African bookshops anti South African? While the rest of the business industry in South Africa tries to promote local products with the “Proudly South African” campaign, local authors are apparently being shunned with increasing venom.

Overseas authors enjoy massive media and in-store promotion, making the sales to local fantasy readers a sure thing, while this branch of Exclusive Books refuses to display this local fantasy novel on their shelves. Are we encouraging the export of revenue to the UK with huge marketing campaigns for foreign books, while local authors languish in poverty and obscurity?

The hostile attitude of local media is already rife, making the promotion of local books increasingly difficult. Now it seems that SA bookstores have jumped on the bandwagon in their bid to undermine the efforts of local authors to gain notoriety and earn a living. How can a South African author succeed against these kinds of odds? The end result of this kind of anti local industry mindset will be the export of our talent to overseas publishers and markets, robbing South Africa of what should be a local industry.

Ironically, when these local authors gain overseas markets, the books may then be imported into South Africa, thereby increasing the drain on local industry as the revenue leaves the country for foreign shores. Any efforts to market the book locally are being brutally stifled, and now even those who find out about it cannot buy it.


Anonymous said...

I think its very tipical for exclusive books to be like that.

I mean Canal Walk branch was one of two stores in South Africa that had the biggest Harry Potter launches of 07 but they can't carry a South African fantasy novel, not even one copy or as they want everything 0+1.

I always find the canal walk branch of staff very snooty, like the constania branch. Anyways their loss. I hope one day when the demon lord series is a huge best seller, you reframe from visiting their stores for signings.

T C Southwell said...

Thank you for your comments. Your support is much appreciated.

The irony is that the books are available from the publisher on a sale or return basis, so the book shops don't stand to lose anything by stocking a few copies.

After receiving complaints from people that they couldn't find the book in the Canal Walk branch, I went there to ask about it.

They promised to order it, then didn't, even when I contacted the publishers and asked them to send a rep.

I too, look forward to the day when the Demon Lord series becomes a huge best seller. :)

VampireBookHunter said...

I just finished reading Demon Lord (which I got from a second hand book store, I am sad to say ) and think that it is hideously unfair of Exclusives to be like that (but then again, the name might be a little self explanatory, as this is not the first time I have failed to find a book there).
I am planing to start a Proudly South African Books petition to get South African authors more recognition. Hopefully this will speed publication and help South Africans who want to write novels. I am one of these people, and it would be nice if people would show some recognition instead of the regular "Huh?" response.