South Africa: The Buying, Selling and Reading of Books Is an Essential Service

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An open letter from 328 South African published authors, academics, and readers, asking that all books be available for trade at Level 4 of Lockdown. The letter has been submitted to the National Coronavirus Command Council through the correct portal, and letters will be written, individually, to the key ministers on Tuesday, 28 April 2020.

As published South African authors, and readers and writers, we are proud of and grateful for the sober, compassionate, and science-based leadership our government has shown during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are mindful of the difficult choices you have to make, every day, in an attempt to save our lives and our livelihoods, and we have noted your call for public response to the proposed regulations governing the easing of the lockdown. It is in this spirit that we submit our request: that all books, not just "educational" ones, be available for trade, at Level 4 of the lockdown.

The book industry was vulnerable even before the pandemic. We as a country are at great risk of losing not only our booksellers, but our publishers too. We are concerned about the jobs that will be lost, as well as the loss of vital cultural and...

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