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Zimbabwe Reads helps Bhabhu Books to partner with global e-book distributor

21 Sep 2013
Worldreader, an US NGO that provides digital books to children and families in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing nations using e-reader and existing mobile phone technology, recently signed new digital publishing deals with Bulawayo-based Ama Books and Weaver Press from Harare.

Ignatius Mabasa
Ignatius Mabasa
We were approached by them as well. And used the chance to promote local language publications by our partner company, Bhabhu Books. Here is what BB’s head, Ignatius Mabasa, had to say about the partnership.
How did the idea of putting Bhabhu Books Shona readers onto Amazon came to you?

While it was my strong wish to have Shona readers on Amazon mainly because of high printing costs and piracy – the idea came more not as my idea, but as an opportunity when friends from Zimbabwe reads told me that they had shown a few copies to representatives of Worldreader  who were visiting Zimbabwe and they had shown great interest in the Bhabhu Books Shona readers. So, Zimbabwe reads linked me up with Dani [Zacarias] at Worldreader and as they say, the rest is history.

Please describe how the collaboration with the Worldreader developed in the past three months. Is it an easy procedure? Name two-three titles that will soon be added to the ones already available for purchase online?

The collaboration with Worldreader has been a great personal and professional development opportunity for me and Bhabhu Books. There has been a lot of e-mail exchanges, lots of paperwork, sending and resending documents. It has been an interesting journey – more like Dorothy’s when she went to the Wizard of Oz’s city. Three new titles that will be available soon are:
1. Imbwa yemunhu – a Shona novel by Ignatius Mabasa
2. Zvipfuyo nevana vazvo – a Shona reader by Tinashe Muchuri
3. Zigonye rakakora – a Shona reader by Ignatius Mabasa

WR_logo1_RGBIs digital the way to go in Zimbabwe? What are the sales figures? Your expectations of digital sales growth for next year?

Considering that mobile phones have now found their way into very remote rural areas, killing the postal services, I can boldly say yes, the future is digital and Zimbabweans need to be ready for the revolution. No sales figures yet, but prospects look better than printed book business.