Be damned, and publish?
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CTA. 2002. Be damned, and publish?. Spore 99. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47543
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore99.pdf
'The old adage of 'Publish and be damned' could well be reversed in the case of many of those publishers met during the study [conducted by CTA on publishing activities in nine African countries in 1990 ed.]. In addition to the obstacles faced by...
The old adage of 'Publish and be damned' could well be reversed in the case of many of those publishers met during the study [conducted by CTA on publishing activities in nine African countries in 1990 ed.]. In addition to the obstacles faced by African publishers, and the self-maintained obstacles of brethren European publishers, there is another aspect of the book which is not paid (and usually cannot be paid) sufficient attention. An essential part of the complex profession of publisher is to read the demand and expectations of the readers, and to match the work of the author to them. In reality, few of the African publishers of technical publications get involved in this work, and they limit themselves to the technical steps of publishing: correction, preparation and printing. This is perhaps inevitable, given the distance between the potential reader and the publisher. It makes it more difficult to measure the readers specific needs and it implies that income from sales will be low. All this is compounded by the relative size of the publishing house; economies of scale have to applied at all points in the book chain, including those that are essential to serving and expanding the market. Similarly, donor and development agencies often underestimate the value of communication between the public s wishes and the author. As a result, the quality and focus of a publication are often left entirely in the hands of the author and the agency. In such cases, quality and focus are less subject to an understanding of the demand than they are to the ever-changing fashions in development, to the desire of the agency itself to position itself and to the pressures of institutional competition.' Extracted from: Promoting technical publishing in Africa. Seminar proceedings, Arnhem, Netherlands, 3 6 November 1992. CTA, Wageningen, 1994, 129 pp. ISBN 92 9081 103 X. Out of print.