In a press-release earlier this week, it was announced that South African online retailer Kalahari.com will be merged together with local online powerhouse, Takealot.com
Kalahari which was first formed in 1998, has been a point of call for local authors as a method of distributing their eBooks within the country for a number of years.
Despite a commanding presence in the country Kalahari is considered by many to be unfriendly towards self-published authors, insisting that they are represented by a publishing house before being loaded within their online eBook store.
This obviously defeats the purpose of self-publishing and this stubborn refusal to help authors choosing the self-published route has lead to more and more authors looking to the international giant Amazon.com to further their publishing aspirations.
Amazon.com has long championed the cause of the self-published author, and with the advent of it's KDP platform more and more authors are finding it an invaluable tool in marketing oneself to international (and local!) readers.
Kalahari has also been known to encrypt all their eBooks sold using DRM (Digital Rights Management), which is a controversial system.
This system which is supposed to protect eBooks from being pirated is well-known to be very weak protection that infuriates readers more than anything else, due to it's cumbersome nature.
The two South African online retail giants, who have been losing money for sometime, merged due to honest recognition that only with their combined clout could they hope to make inroads into our countries online purchases. Currently international giants such as Amazon, eBay and Apple hold our consumers trust and much of the business transacted online.
The deal will first need to be approved by the Competition Commision before going ahead, presumably sometime next year.
I just wonder with the merging of these two online retailers, will the South African self-published author become a recognised and valuable user?
Will the new company formed allow authors to self-publish online through an easy to use portal or will they continue to turn a blind-eye to Amazon's very successful KDP platform and it's belief in empowering authors.
I really hope that with merger, a breath of fresh air will be pumped into Kalahari's old and outdated method of dealing with South African self-published authors.