Small local publishers surviving by small margins look set to be squeezed even further as they come up against what they fear will be unfair competition in the form of expanded government publishing.
The Department of Arts and Culture confirms that it is set to scale up publishing output through its publishing unit "by the end of the 2018/2019 financial year". It's billed as a partnership initiative with the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), also meant to mark the 200th anniversary of the National Library in 2019.
According to Zimasa Velaphi, chief director of communications and marketing for the department, the publishing strategy will be expanded from "disseminating classic texts that have been out of print, combined with a focus on texts looking at the library's specialist role and nurturing new authors who would not otherwise have been able to publish, as part of the transformation and redress agenda".
The department says its expanded publishing strategy is not meant to compete with trade publishers who have their own market niches. The publishing unit, named Publishing House, does not run its own presses and has since its establishment in 2004 published 92 indigenous-language books....