Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 24, December 1998 


Book Aid International expands publishing support

Catherine Nicholson
Catherine Nicholson works for Book Aid International, 39/41 Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, London, SE5 9NR, England. Tel +44 171 733 3577, fax +44 171 978 8006, e-mail:

In 1997 Book Aid International (BAI) raised over $1 million to continue and expand, over three years, its two existing publishing support activities, the Intra African Book Support Scheme (IABSS) and the Publishers' Resource Pack (PRP) project.

Since then around $290,000 worth of books has been purchased through the IABSS, run in partnership with the African Books Collective, and distributed to university and public libraries all over Africa.

Publishers' Resource Pack project

The PRP project is a small book voucher scheme, through which BAI aims to assist African publishing organisations in their training efforts by providing them with professional resource materials. The Rockefeller Foundation, the Nippon Foundation, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Unwin Charitable Trust and the European Commission support this aim through the provision of funds.

The considerable increase in funding in 1997 enabled increased support to African publishers. BAI has been actively promoting the scheme throughout Anglophone Africa, and over fifty organisations are currently participating. Organisations range from national publishers' associations to independent commercial publishers and also include small NGOs actively involved in publishing.

Through the Publishers' Resource Pack project, BAI has supplied training and reference books to publishers, national publishers' associations and other organisations producing and disseminating written materials throughout Africa. A new catalogue of materials, Information and Training Resources for Publishing, was prepared and distributed in the summer of 1998, and the web version is included as part of an enhanced Resource Collection on the BAI Internet site ( In response to demand from publishers in francophone countries, a catalogue of French materials is being prepared.

The catalogue follows the curriculum of the African Publishers' Institute, the training arm of APNET, the African Publishers' Network. Feedback from all publishers participating in the project, and from many others involved in the scheme from 1992 to 1998, has been invaluable during the selection process. Titles have been selected on all aspects of publishing with the aim of offering a range of resources which are relevant to the experienced professional and the new publisher alike. BAI continually attempts to source Africa-produced titles for inclusion in the catalogue and particularly welcomes suggestions for new titles published in the South.

Intermediate Technology Publications procures and dispatches all titles. Its mail order service allows anyone outside the scheme to purchase the books listed in the catalogue (contact details below).

In addition to these established activities, BAI continues to expand its support for publishing companies and organisations in Africa that produce books and other reading materials for African readers.

Partners in African Publishing

During 1998 BAI assumed responsibility for the Partners in African Publishing Programme developed by CODE Europe over the past three years. The newsletter is still produced by founding editor Kelvin Smith but is now published under the BAI banner, and can also be found on BAI's website.

Working closely with APNET and national publishers' associations, the Partners in African Publishing Programme will maintain the information services it provides for the African book development community. Further workshops aimed at BAI's library partners may also take place to build on the experience of its successful workshops held in Nairobi and Dakar in the first quarter of 1998.

Other activities

BAI has also assumed responsibility for the Tanzania Resource Centre Project, previously run by CODE Europe. Now in its fourth year, the project aims to broaden access to library facilities, teachers' resources and literacy activities in the southern Tanzanian provinces of Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma. Ten centres have been built and equipped and training has taken place for librarians and centre management teams. Under BAI, the centres will continue to receive materials, training, and logistical support for centre activities.

The supply of African-published books to African institutions will be extended in 1999 with a pilot project enabling African libraries to buy more books within Africa. The first stage of the pilot will be in collaboration with the Malawi National Library Service, and BAI aims to extend the project to partners in other African countries in 2000/2001.

For a catalogue or further information about the Publishers' Resource Pack scheme contact Paula Clegg or Catherine Nicholson, Research and Development,

Book Aid International, 39-41 Coldharbour Lane, London SE5 9NR, England. Tel+44 171 733 3577, fax+44 171 978 8006, e-mail:

Orders for titles in the Publishers' Resource Pack catalogue should go to Intermediate Technology Publications, 103-105 Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4HH, England. Tel +44 171 436 9761, fax +44 171 436 2013, e-mail:

Partners in African Publishing can be contacted by e-mail: [BPN, No. 24, 1998, p. 7]

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