Arab Today, arab today booklovers refuge closes its doors in south africa
Last Updated : GMT 00:00:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Book-lovers? refuge closes its doors in South Africa

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Book-lovers? refuge closes its doors in South Africa

London - AFP

South Africa may have produced two Nobel laureates in literature but a famous bookshop in Johannesburg is nevertheless about to close, a victim of the country's poor reading culture. The Boekehuis, whose Afrikaans name means "book house", is in an old four-bedroom house a stone's throw from the city's two main universities. Its waxed parquet floors, moulded ceilings, garden and coffee shop became the book-lovers' refuge. The shop's literary events where readers could interact with writers were especially popular. "This is like a house, not only a bookshop. People come here to buy books, but not only. They come for the ambiance, to have a nice time. And especially for the talks," says shop manager Corina van der Spoel. Boekehuis which opened in 2000 has been widely portrayed as independent, but it is in fact owned by Media24, the country's largest media company. The giant multimedia group, which owns most of the country's magazines and major newspaper titles, announced in December that the Boekehuis would be closing its doors at the end of January. Leading figures such as award-winning author Andre Brink, photographer David Goldblatt and internationally acclaimed painter William Kentridge were among those who signed a petition to try to get Media24 to change its mind. But their arguments have failed to sway the executives at Media24: the store has recorded annual losses of around a million rand ($120,000) "Various possible solutios, such as finding a buyer for it, were pursued without success," the company explained in a statement. "No interested buyers could be found." National figures on readership -- and literacy -- help explain the problem. "Only about one percent of the population buy books," says Elitha van der Sandt, head of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC). And although the country can boast Nobel prize-winning authors such as Nadine Gordimer (1991) and J.M. Coetzee (2003), their works are mostly read abroad. Professionals and researchers give several reasons for the nation's lack of a reading culture: one problem is the price of books. The cheapest start at 120 rand ($14, 11 euros) -- a high price in a country where most of the 50 million people earn around 2,000 to 3,000 rand a month. "While a few books sell very well, most books will sell only a thousand or so copies," says Beth le Roux of the University of Pretoria, a specialist in the publishing industry. "This means that publishers have small print runs, which also keeps the costs (and the prices) high." A sales tax rate of 14 percent and transport costs for imported books only add to the problem, she adds. "To make it onto the bestseller list, you only need to sell a few thousand copies of a book here." Le Roux estimates the book industry's turnover at 3.5 billion rand ($420 million, 320 million euro): but two thirds of that are made up of school and university textbooks. Another 20 percent comes from religious books, which does not leave much of a niche for general literature. A more fundamental problem however, is illiteracy. In South Africa 18 percent of adults over the age of 15 are unable to read, and many of those who can read still struggle. These depressing statistics are a legacy of the apartheid system, which gave lower quality schooling to the non-white population. Stationery shops in the countryside sell a few romance novels, biographies of European royalty, thrillers and sports books. And there is no shortage of religious bookshops. South Africa's main cities offer a few bookshops selling a broader range of literature: mostly branches of Exclusive Books, the largest chain in South Africa. Increasingly however, many book enthusiasts are turning to the Internet to get what they need, even if for years, the Boekehuis was seen as an exception to that trend, partly because of the literary events it hosted. Just a few kilometres down the road meanwhile, the local branch of Exclusive Books is also struggling. The chain, which belongs to a rival media group, just reduced the floor space of its biggest shop.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today booklovers refuge closes its doors in south africa Arab Today, arab today booklovers refuge closes its doors in south africa

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today booklovers refuge closes its doors in south africa Arab Today, arab today booklovers refuge closes its doors in south africa

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today Lufthansa chief eyes up to 78

GMT 11:29 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Lufthansa chief eyes up to 78
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today Rouhani at UN defends Iran nuclear deal

GMT 09:41 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Rouhani at UN defends Iran nuclear deal
Arab Today, arab today Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps

GMT 11:31 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Ministry seeks to improve education

GMT 14:49 2017 Sunday ,17 September

Ministry seeks to improve education
Arab Today, arab today China lifts 10-year travel ban

GMT 18:09 2017 Thursday ,21 September

China lifts 10-year travel ban
Arab Today, arab today Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace

GMT 12:01 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Intel chips loaded in Waymo

GMT 14:43 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Intel chips loaded in Waymo
Arab Today, arab today Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show

GMT 12:04 2017 Monday ,18 September

Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show
Arab Today, arab today Actress Ream Hhagag prepares for a new film

GMT 09:40 2017 Tuesday ,19 September

Actress Ream Hhagag prepares for a new film
Arab Today, arab today France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 06:21 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 12:14 2017 Monday ,18 September

Horia Farghaly happy for success of “Case G”

GMT 10:35 2017 Thursday ,14 September

New Zealand opposition looks

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 19:18 2017 Monday ,18 September

5,000 'Dieselgate' deaths in Europe per year

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 04:49 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

WHO urges Yemen to accept vaccines

GMT 16:04 2017 Tuesday ,19 September

Egypt tourism revival steady but slow

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 12:46 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Google likely to buy stake in Taiwan smartphone maker HTC

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday