In the past, African books were often confined to the 'naughty corner' of major bookstores. There was a perception that commercial international titles such as 50 Shades of Grey held more sway than our own talent. However, there has been a massive shift in the awareness and celebration of African literature, and, in some exciting news shared this morning, Exclusive Books showed that they are prepared to put their commercial clout behind our continent's writers.
In response to a growing demand for books by writers from Africa and the Pan-African diaspora, Exclusive Books has significantly increased its stockholding of major works of black literature, from Chinua Achebe to Chris van Wyk, across its stores.
This Africa Month (May 2017), the bookseller is publishing a special 80-page catalogue detailing over 200 of these works, which originate from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, the UK, US and Caribbean, and other territories. The catalogue will be available in limited quantities in each of its stores.
“The consultation and care that went into the selection of titles in the catalogue represents an ideal that we strive for as booksellers,” said Benjamin Trisk, CEO of Exclusive Books. “While no catalogue can be comprehensive, and every curation is necessarily imperfect, we feel that our debut effort makes for a significant start. We will strive to improve and increase our selection each year.”
In developing the catalogue, Exclusive Books worked alongside publishers to bring several titles back into print. It has also committed to long-term re-ordering a large number of the works, to help ensure that as many as possible remain so. This is huge for the African publishing industry, where writers have often suffered the financial impact of low print runs.
“We want to keep the entire Pan-African Writing list in stock across our group,” said Trisk. “If a given work is not available in a given store, that store will be able to order the book for the customer either centrally or from a sister store.”
Look out for the Exclusive Books Pan-African Writing Catalogue, in stores from 10 May. All books featured in the catalogue earn Fanatics members double points throughout Africa Month.