Wordweaver is a new Namibian Publishing House which was launched in Windhoek on 17 March 2012. Unlike most existing publishing houses in Namibia who focus only on educational material, Wordweaver publishes a wide range of fiction genres. Wordweaver was established as a response to the incredible talent of Namibian writers and the difficulties they faced in getting published. Visit the Wordweaver website here:
What is ABC?
African Books Collective (ABC) is a non-profit worldwide marketing and distribution outlet for over 2,000 titles from Africa. ABC seeks to strengthen indigenous African publishing through collective action and to increase the visibility and accessibility of the wealth of African scholarship and culture.
Who owns ABC?
ABC is a collective owned by its 17 founder publishers. The founder publishers elect a five-member Council of Management which meets annually. The Council of Management is responsible for setting the collective’s policies and for its representation in the wider book and publishing world, in government, NGO and cultural organizations, within and outside Africa. ABC is a UK-registered company limited by guarantee. It has two UK non-executive directors who are legally responsible for the company. ABC seeks to be profit making on behalf of its publishers, and is non-profit making on its own behalf. The day-to-day running of the collective is from a secretariat in Oxford. The staff are responsible for implementing the policies set by the Council of Management.
What kind of publishers does ABC represent?
124 independent publishers, including university presses, research institutes, NGOs, and commercial publishers, large and small, women and men. They come from 21 African countries, publishing with a focus on African issues and cultural and literary heritage. ABC publishers are indigenous autonomous publishers with control over their own publishing programmes and policies; they have control over their own finances.
What sorts of books does ABC distribute?
Our strength is in scholarly and academic books, literature, and general culture titles. We are interested in books written in all languages especially African languages. We can take a small number of children’s books but we are only able to consider full-colour hardback editions.
What are the advantages of ABC distribution?
ABC is unique in three ways.
For customers: trade, individuals, and libraries we are a worldwide one-stop-shop for titles from over 120 publishers from 21 countries and growing.
Unlike other commercial distributors who cast their nets rather broadly and cannot give much attention to specialized markets, we are a marketing and distribution operation for publishers focusing on Africa.
Lastly, though our work is fiercely commercial on behalf of our publishers we are a not-for-profit on our own behalf with the goal of increasing publisher remittances rather that sticking to an agreed commercial rate. We are watching our publishers’ figures as well as our own.
There are huge benefits being part of a large collective when it comes to the deals we can do on your behalf in the book trade which is becoming increasingly dominated by the large wholesalers. ABC has good relations with the major wholesalers who are keen on the volume sales we can provide, and this is reflected in the terms and service we receive from them.
Where does ABC sell books?
Worldwide including Africa, with the exception of the publisher’s own country. Our biggest market is the US.
Is ABC a publisher?
We have published a small number of donor-funded titles on book development issues in Africa; but otherwise, no, ABC is not a publisher. If you are an author we are happy to suggest African publishers who might be interested in hearing from you but have no influence over their publishing decisions.
I am a writer and my book is distributed by ABC. Can I be in touch with ABC about it?
Yes. If you are a writer we are happy to hear from you and explain how we work. Any ideas you have about marketing or publicity we would like to hear, this is a big help to us. If you want to have a launch we can arrange with permission from your publisher to get copies to you, you will receive an author discount. As our contracts are with publishers not authors, we can only report numbers of copies sold and sales remittances to the publishers. You must ask your publisher for that information.
Can I join ABC?
If we believe we can find a market for your books we would be interested in distributing them. There is no fee to have your books distributed by ABC. For further information please contact us and tell us a little bit about your publishing.
I publish books on Africa but I am not based in Africa. Can ABC still distribute my books for me?
Yes. If we believe we can find a market for your books and you reflect the ethos of ABC, we would be interested in hearing from you.
I am a self-published author and would like ABC to list my book my on your website and sell it. Can ABC do that for me?
Broadly no. ABC focuses on distributing publishers who publish titles which are not their own work and have been through the publishers peer-review process. ABC cannot generally take on titles which are already available through channels like Author House, Amazon's Marketplace, Lulu etc as they clash with the marketing work we carry out on behalf of publishers.
If I have a book accepted what happens then?
If we judge from market assessment that you have a title/s we think we can sell you will be asked to sign our Memorandum of Agreement; once signed all is left for you to do is send us your books.
How do I send my books to ABC?
The greater part of ABC’s current list is permanently available Print on Demand (POD). To make your titles available POD we need you to send us PDF files of your texts and your covers. You can email us the files, send us a disk or if you are unable to create PDFs you can send us a copy of your printed book and we can submit it for scanning.
Print on Demand
What is POD?
Instead of printing a quantity of books for future supply of orders Print on Demand allows us to print any number of copies for a fixed unit cost. In our case ABC receives orders for your titles and then sends those orders to our printer daily. Our printer then prints the books and ships them to the customers directly. There is no charge from ABC to setup your books for POD.
What are the advantages of POD for African publishers?
The advantages are many.
- You do not have to worry about sending us physical stock of your books, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Once you have sent us the files for your new title/s your job is done. This allows you to spend more time developing exciting new books.
- There is no money up-front and no risk. We only print when we get orders so you receive money back on your first sale.
- Once made POD your books will never go out of print.
- Timeliness. After we receive your PDF files your book can be available in a matter of weeks, this can have a positive effect on sales and your reputation.
Is POD expensive?
POD is generally more expensive per unit cost than offset printing, however you need to weigh that up against the cost of shipping books to the UK and US. We can help you cost the options.
I would like to send stock of a book that I have printed myself. Is this possible?
Yes. Not all titles are suitable for POD so we continue to run a small warehouse operation. Full colour titles are presently not cost-effective POD so we will take stock of well-produced titles of this nature. If you have a title suitable for POD but you think you might get a better margin for yourself by sending stock you can. We would have to be happy with the production quality and you would need to pay for shipping and customs clearance. Over time we might decide to destock any unsold copies so we can make room for new titles. If we sell all your stock you can always make your title POD at that time. We understand every publisher has different needs. There are many options in this area and we are always interested in experimenting with you to find the model that best suits us both.
Are there disadvantages if I do not use POD?
We find POD titles sell better. Customers get them faster and this 24 hour availability drives sales. Because of the deals we have signed with our printer who feeds online retailers such as Amazon and also major book wholesalers, information on POD titles reaches the market very quickly and more effectively than stocked books. This also has a positive effect on sales.
What help can ABC give me with the production of my books?
If we receive PDF files from you we will format them for POD production, if you have trouble creating PDF files we can advise and work with you to make it happen. However we are a small team and are unable to carry out any editing, typesetting or design work for you. We want you to release great books so are more than happy to advise you and make suggestions in these areas if you would like us to.
What does ABC do for its share of sales income?
Once you sign our agreement ABC will act exclusively on your behalf in markets outside of your own country. We have put in place several commercial partnerships with major outlets in the book trade, and ABC publishers benefit from the terms we have negotiated. ABC feeds your new title information to major bibliographic information providers and book wholesalers ensuring your books can be sourced anywhere in the world in a timely fashion. We release new titles monthly and all new titles are sent to over 2000 customers on emailing lists we have developed. We also attract new subscribers by posting to relevant listserves and at conferences and exhibits we attend. All titles are listed and can be purchased from the ABC Website. ABC has in place speedy order turn-around times and efficient payment processing systems. Customers can order online from the ABC site or any online retailer, directly from ABC, or through any commercial wholesaler or bookshop. We manage standing order plans for libraries ensuring your titles are available to scholars in the major African Studies institutions throughout the world. ABC attends major African Studies conferences in Europe, Africa and the US, and also major book trade fairs as your representative. Your titles, authors and your publishing house all receive unique URLs on our website making it easy for you to direct your customers to a point of sale. If your books are not POD we will warehouse them for you, and if they are POD, we can provide assistance with their production. Unless you object we will add your titles to Google Books (formally Google Booksearch). Customers are able to view up to 20% of a books’ content for free. We find Google Books to be an effective marketing tool and liken it to the online version of leafing through a book in a bookstore before you decide to purchase it or not.
Can my book be read for free on the internet?
No. There is nowhere on the internet where ABC books can be read for free. Our printer has our files but cannot by law sell, distribute, or post them online. Google also has them for use on Google Books. We have signed a legally binding contract with Google Books to make available not more that 20% of a books contents per user. Google Books is not to be confused with the Google Library project where titles were scanned by libraries and made available for free without permission of ABC or the publishers. Most publishers in the world were caught up in this and the Google Library project was deemed illegal and stopped. Publishers worldwide including ABC on behalf of its publishers are claiming money back from Google for this breach of copyright.
Can ABC send out review copies for me?
Yes. We send our new title information to many journals and magazines and receive review requests often. If you have arranged for one of your books to be reviewed we can send these out for you. If you would like us to send out complimentary copies to your authors and editors, we can do that.
Can I market my books directly to customers where ABC is distributing for me?
Yes. We just ask that when it comes to ordering you direct the customers to us. We can advise you about the best way to do this. Any marketing work you can do in addition to the work we do is most welcome and will help with your sales and strengthen both our brands. There are big advantages for publishers to be part of a collective and benefit in the trade in the same way as large publishers, but we also like publishers to have a distinct brand identity within ABC. We will also supply you with any market feed-back you need to tailor your publishing programme for the Northern markets.
Will my books be used in Universities?
Your titles will have a good chance of being adopted for course use in Universities around the world. Quick supply is key in this market and publishers can become black-listed for failure to supply on time. ABC has a proven track-record and the all the relevant supply information in the system, so university bookstores have no issue in ensuring the adopted title is in stock before class starts.
eBOOKS and Digital Content
Does ABC handle ebooks?
Yes. In the same way ABC handles printed titles we can also distribute ebooks and digital content. Again we have deals in place with major wholesalers and are also always signing deals with smaller independent ebook retailers. There is no charge from ABC to setup your ebooks.
What ebook formats does ABC handle?
We will take any format you wish us to. We find PDF and the epub formats the best to focus on.
How do I send my ebooks to ABC?
We will convert your print files into PDF format ebooks at ABC for you; all you need to do is provide us with an additional ISBN. We cannot convert titles to the epub format in house. You can either send us files you have had converted yourself or we can have them converted for you if we think the market for your title warrants this. As with different print formats every new electronic format needs a unique ISBN i.e. separate from the print/POD ISBN.
How are my digital rights protected?
ABC distributes ebooks and digital content through major wholesalers and online retailers. It is their contractual responsibility to ensure there is no unauthorized sharing, downloading or printing of the ebooks we sell through them. These companies have invested heavily in Digital Rights Management software to ensure the security of their customers’ titles. The electronic book is more secure than the more easily shared or copied printed book.
How do I get paid for ebooks?
We pay you for sales of ebooks in the same way we pay you for printed books except of course there are no prints costs, just your sales minus our share.
What share does ABC take for the distribution of ebooks?
ABC makes a distinction in remittance levels between digital content and ebooks. Please contact us for our current terms.
Can I keep the distribution rights to my ebooks and distribute them myself?
Yes. You can choose to distribute your own ebooks even when ABC is distributing your print editions. Or, you can distribute to some channels yourself but have ABC handle others, all we ask is you let us know so we don't duplicate.
What is ABC’s share?
ABC is an unfunded not-for-profit organization. Our concern is with the development of the African publishing industry and our aim is to remit 55% of sales income to African publishers. We are edging our way towards that goal by increasing publishers’ share when and where we can. For current terms please contact us.
How do I get paid for ebooks?
We pay you for sales of ebooks in the same way we pay you for printed books except of course there are no prints costs, just your sales minus our share. ABCs share is much lower for ebooks as we only take a small fee for the conversion work we do on your PDF files and for the work we do finding ways of distributing your ebook titles for you.
What share does ABC take for the distribution of ebooks?
For current terms please contact us.