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.