Readersforum's Blog

November 18, 2012

Book piracy leaves Zimbabwe publishers in red

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 10:27 am

By Fanuel Jongwe

Books have become cheaper for cash-strapped but education-hungry Zimbabweans, yet publishers and writers are seeing their earnings evaporate due to burgeoning book piracy.

Fledgling publisher Edmund Masundire is weighing whether to release new titles under a popular series of children’s books after falling victim to a roaring textbook bootlegging industry.

“We found that the bulk of our books were being sold on the streets after they were reproduced illegally by printers who supply street vendors at cheap prices,” said Masundire, whose catalogue includes children’s stories and folk tales.

Book piracy has become almost the norm in Zimbabwe where copies are sold at near give-away prices through a network of street vendors.

It’s threatening an industry already struggling to stay afloat because of dwindling sales figures as few people can afford to buy books in a country battling to recover from nearly a decade of economic downturn and political turmoil.

Pirated books go for half, or even less than the cost of original versions.

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