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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Appeal to Donate Books to Bookery

ReadSA appeals to the public, appeals to you, to donate books to Equal Education‘s Bookery. Equal Education is in particular need of primary and high school books, non-fiction and reference books. All donated books should be in a satisfactory condition please. Any books in Afrikaans and in Xhosa are most welcome too, as are any other books.

Equal Education also needs assistance with helping the school libraries acquire Libwin Software, for cataloguing purposes. Volunteers are always welcome to help sort out and catalogue donated books.

Address to donate books: The Bookery 20 Roeland Street Cape Town. View a map.

From the building of school libraries to the giving of a book, Equal Education needs you in their community!

About Equal Education and Bookery

Equal Education is a community-based organisation. It is vigorously campaigning for quality and equality in the South African education system and we engage in evidence and research based activism for improving the nation’s schools. We promote the constitutional right to equality and education, with the firm belief that these will enable the poor and working class to an equal opportunity in life.

The campaign for School libraries. Only 8% of public schools in South Africa have functional libraries. These are almost entirely situated in former Model C schools, which continually have the resources to stock and staff these facilities. Approximately 20,000 schools are without libraries, thereby denying their learners access to regular reading opportunities.

The Bookery is the home of the Equal Education’s campaign for school libraries the slogan (1 school, 1 library, 1 librarian) was adopted for it, the campaign started in 2009. Most of the children in poor communities only have their first access to a reading book that they can take home and read for themselves in a school library.

Research shows that student performance increases by about 10% and 25% when a library space is adequately stocked, and properly staffed within a school.

The Bookery is where we collect books, sort them, cover and catalogue them to a computer software that allows the school to manage the books once they receive them.

We work on giving 3 books per learner “ if the school has 1000 learners they get 3000 books.”

From the moment we have identified the school we will work with as partners, the process takes 4 weeks until the opening of the library. We gather support and regularly visit and monitor the school library, until they are ready to take on the library on their own.

We have opened the 3 school libraries this year. We opened the first one in Khayelitsha Thembelihle High School, Lavender Hill High School in Retreat and our third was opened last Friday Masiyile Secondary Khayelitsha.

With thanks, Read South Africa and Equal Education.

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Five Tactics To Make It Easier For Readers To Learn About and Buy Your Book

While trawling the Internet to shop for books, I noticed five things that some of the authors I read do to promote their books and to encourage readers to buy:

  1. Book covers are hyperlinked to sales pages – Readers who are considering buying a book don’t have to wait until the next time they go to a bookstore to buy a book. They also don’t have to page through numerous web pages to find buying info. All this makes it easier for them to buy.
  2. Excerpts give readers a taste – Many authors are publishing excerpts of their books to hook potential readers. As a voracious reader (and online book buyer), I’ve even come to expect the excerpts.
  3. Online serials build a captive audience – A couple of up and coming authors whom I read publish online serials on a weekly basis to build a community for their works. Yes, it’s hard work to constantly think up new stories to tell and to give away. But I’ve also noticed that authors who invest in this kind of promotion build a faithful base of fans who love their work, have grown to trust in their storytelling skills and pre-order their books. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have at least 3000 readers impatiently waiting for you to release your next book?
  4. Banding together increases marketing power – I also noticed that new authors in the same genre are increasingly banding together to promote one other’s works. This means that if you have 5 authors working together, each author’s books are promoted in at least five different places at the same time. Think “economies of scale.”
  5. Blog tours help you connect with new readers – Blog tours are easy to arrange if you already have an online presence (like a blog or web site). All you need to do is contact 10 other bloggers you know (or whatever number) and ask them to host you. You can either writer a short article, talking about your book or issues related to it, or the blog owner can interview you. Bottom line is, you reach new readers you may never have been able to connect with otherwise.

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Let’s Name Africa’s Best Books of the Decade – and SA’s Top Ten

A post by BOOK SA editor Ben Williams

It dawned on me rather late in the year that 2009 marks the end of the oughties – the first tender years of this young century which have “0″ as their penultimate number (some call them the noughties). By now, however, enough “best of the decade” lists are marching through the media to make for an almost daily reminder of 2010′s imminence.

Two such lists, both formulated in the UK, caught BOOK SA’s attention last week: the Times‘ and Telegraph‘s top 100 books of the past ten years.

Only two books from African pens featured: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Youth by JM Coetzee.

That these two novels, by dint of their election in two major newspapers, should come to represent Africa’s literary odyssey in the oughties struck me as unjust – though both works are, of course, marvelously crafted and highly significant. There are so many others, though, that this decade in African publishing should be remembered for.

Then I received a note from Isobel Dixon to the effect that The Asian Word was spearheading a campaign to name Asia’s top books of the decade. Dixon suggested that a similar initiative be undertaken on African literature’s behalf.

I wholeheartedly concurred, and hereby put a challenge to ReadSA members: starting today, let’s give ourselves three weeks to name the top 50 African books of the oughties – as well as the SA top ten.

It will be difficult, of course, to do this fairly – the first list, for instance, will likely be biased toward English-language and southern African books – but the exercise will be worthwhile if it produces a solid signpost for all the directions that literature from the continent took us in the past ten years.

I propose that we set some basic rules:

  • Authors may be living in the diaspora, but must be or have been citizens of an African state
  • We don’t need to come up with a ranking system – just filling fifty Africa and ten South Africa slots will suffice, and we can list the “winners” alphabetically by title (unless someone is willing to take responsibility for overseeing a ranking system)
  • Books that feature on the South Africa list can, of course, also feature on the Africa list
  • Books of all types may be considered
  • The cutoff date for nominating books will be Friday 11 December
  • ReadSA will announce the final lists during the week of Monday 14 December

I further propose that we leave the rest to crowdsourcing at the ReadSA Facebook page. A ReadSA admin member can create a “Discussion Topic” on the page, and book titles suggested there will be entered for final consideration.

The more a book appears or is seconded in the Facebook forum, the greater its weight will be come the final reckoning. Said reckoning should probably be managed by a committee of ReadSA’s most active members. I’d suggest that Damaria Senne, Zukiswa Wanner, Louis Greenberg and Thando Mgqolozana be included in this committee; I’d further suggest that we get the likes of Percy Zvomuya, Tymon Smith, Victor Dlamini and Veronique Tadjo involved.

The list-making will likely be rather messy, but also quite illuminating, I’m hoping. What do you think? Constructive comments welcome below – and don’t forget to post your nominations at the ReadSA Facebook page once the topic is live!

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SA Lit Needs a Twitter #hashtag Campaign: Enter #readsa

TwitterReadSA LogoA thought or two from BOOK SA editor Ben Williams.

When I first heard of the Zukiswa Wanner-driven ReadSA campaign, I nearly jumped out of my seat, I was so excited. This is just what SA Lit needs: a fresh, independent, momentum-building marketing drive to get more South Africans to sit up and take notice of the decade-long wildflower blossoming of local letters – one that’s still going strong. Viva ReadSA!

It’s my feeling that we should promote awareness of this incubating initiative in any way we can, both through direct, one-to-one action – for instance, by getting other writers to contribute their time and skills – and through a set of more diffuse activities designed, cumulatively, to penetrate the loud-static veil of modern life and create a store of “recognition capital” for SA books and writers.

One idea I have in mind for the latter set of activities boils down to a simple proposition:

  • Let’s make #readsa the official Twitter hashtag for all things SA Lit

South Africans recently tweeted their way to 10th place on the world Twitter users list, which means that half a million of us are tweeting every month, and, by extension – to borrow from Margaret Mead – that a few, thoughtful, committed twitizens can change the perception of local books in the SA twit-o-sphere through collective action.

Here’s what to do: every time you tweet something that is related to an SA book, writer or book event – anything to do with SA Lit, even if only tangentially – affix #readsa to the beginning or end of your tweet. Each #readsa-tagged tweet helps build a community of people who are interested in SA lit – anyone can join simply by including #readsa in their tweet.

When to tweet with #readsa:

  • Whenever you comment on an SA book
  • Whenever you retweet (RT) a comment on an SA book
  • During cappuccino time at the Vide e Caffe with your best writer friend
  • At book launches, readings and performances – especially if you’re posting pictures
  • Any moment in which inspiration of the SA Lit variety strikes

To help the hashtag gain momentum, I’ll put a #readsa widget on BOOK SA’s front page, like this one -

- as soon as it’s populated with a reasonable number of tweets. (See how it works? We’ve already got a few, organically-associated tweets in there!)

To conclude then, with an African proverb: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Let’s go together, on Twitter, with #readsa.

Looking forward to seeing those tweets!

Anyone with questions about how Twitter and/or hashtags work, please post a comment below.

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