|dc.description||Here we have a practical guide to healthy publishing, for organisations where publishing is not the core function . Often driven by a noble mission, such organisations fail at publishing because they do not know how to meet and satisfy the needs of the market . As a result, they print piles of books for which there is no demand or they miss golden opportunities to get their message out and their sales up.
The book s eight chapters go through the steps of understanding marketing and the market, making a marketing plan (including getting a mention in Spore!), estimating print-runs, sales, finance and strategic planning. Particularly useful sections cover the new skills of selling on the Internet, plus the ins-and-outs of doing business with distributors, rights and co-publications. There are common-or-garden guidelines on understanding a profit and loss account (why nothing on balance sheets?) and even a detailed table for calculating the right cover price, and settling discounts for dealers.
This is a collection of textbook wisdom mixed with homilies from the author s two decades of bookselling together with some focused remarks about possible donors and co-publishers. All of it is sound advice of use anywhere, but it tilts heavily towards the economic and cultural mindsets of eastern and southern Africa with those regions relatively well developed book industry and Internet access. There are similar examples from the Caribbean. Would-be publishers outside those regions may feel that their specific needs, strengths and weaknesses have not been done proper justice. The absence of any mention of the colporteur (itinerant salesman) in West Africa is one example of omissions that a second edition could correct.
It is not quite ten years since this reviewer, in a report to CTA on technical publishing in Africa, likened the supply and demand of publications to 'ships passing each other unseen in the night', and this book alludes to similar cases today. Much good has happened in ACP publishing since then though, most notably in the growth of lively, independent publishers and booksellers, and their associations. The African Publishers Network now has a Caribbean sister and one on the way in the Pacific, whilst the Pan-African Booksellers Association has emerged as an energising partner. Few of these publishing professionals, however, focus on agricultural and rural development since they do not regard it as a viable market. Bridget Impey s contribution is to help communicators and publishers within the sector to be business-like in developing that market. One day it will be viable, all the sooner if every budding publisher gets her book, now.
Marketing and Promoting Agricultural and Rural Development Publications. A practical guide.
B Impey. INASP-CTA co-publication. 2000. 80 pp.
ISBN 92 9081 234 6
CTA number 1026. 10 credit points
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