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Death of options for South African authors

Death of options for South African authors


Notice of termination of digital books services.

Please be advised On the Dot a division of Media 24 (PTY) Ltd has decided to terminate its services in the e-book market and will shortly no longer be providing digital fulfilment agency services to customers.

Sound ominous? It should. Like the sound of a thousand pages being torn simultaneously, another publishing option for South African authors is yanked out from beneath us. Similarly to how author-favourite Kalahari died in the merger with Takealot. The sounds of silence from the South African author-community is deafening.

Do we even know this stuff is happening in front of our ink-stained noses?

It bothers me to the core when a company with the stature of OnTheDot shuts down services. The impact to our publishing landscape will be felt for years, the aftershocks rattling bookshelves for years after that. More frustrating is why are there no headlines in the papers, why does by Google search on the topic signifying fewer options for our writers return empty?

Here is what I know. OnTheDot, might not be ringing any bells for you however the name should be familiar to every publisher in our country. OnTheDot operates almost invisibly to our author community, instead providing services such as eBook conversion, physical book warehousing and print distribution services to many book publishers. That’s right, I see your eye’s widening as realisation dawns. This company housed your books. They formed the link between the publisher and the books stores. They were also well compensated for the service earning a slice of your royalties before it ended up in your pocket.

I am not sure on the details of the closure. Whether or not it’s just their eBook and book distribution services or the company as whole. I have emailed them with no feedback yet, so I am left guessing.

What is a certainty is that local authors looking to publish, now have one less option. Writers seeking to satisfy South African readers are now pushed a step further towards a hungry international audience where the list of publishing avenues presented to the author far outnumber our meager South African offerings. This might not be a bad thing.

Authors who might be wondering the increasingly barren publishing landscape in South Africa will inevitably find solace within the oasis offered by self-publishing.


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