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Fantastiese nuus! BOOK SA Sold to LitNet

Etienne van Heerden

Ben Williams

Alert! In a deal that will cement the future SA Lit on the web, I’m proud to announce that BOOK SA has agreed to sell a majority stake in our small but growing literary network to LitNet.

More specifically, we’re being acquired by LitNet’s holding company, Webwerf, a small outpost in the Media24/Naspers empire-without-end. (Can I even say that now?)

You will have read in our most recent newsletter – mailed today, check your inboxes – that major changes are afoot behind the scenes here at BOOK SA. We’re planning to roll out a fairly substantial upgrade on April 23, our birthday, and are working frantically to tie up all the loose ends.

What I didn’t mention was that the “three-column format” advertised in the newsletter is LitNet’s: that’s right, from April 23, we’ll be upgrading to the sleeker, more user-friendly LitNet template. This should help us draw a wider audience and also make it easer for BOOK SA members to promote and sell their books.

The combined network power of BOOK SA and LitNet – once we’ve got all the synergies worked out – will be pretty awesome to behold. Earlier today, LitNet talisman Etienne van Heerden and myself released a joint statement on this “merger of equals”:

For immediate release

LITNET AND BOOK SA AGREE TO MERGE

Create the Largest SA Lit Leader in SA

Merger Combines Highly Complementary Businesses Positioned for Strong Global Growth

LitNet and BOOK SA announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge, creating the largest SA Lit servicing and asset promotion firm globally.

The new company, which will be called LitNet met BOOK SA, will be the world’s leading SA Lit asset servicer with thousands of book titles in assets under custody, and will rank among the top 10 literary website managers with more than 1 000 under management in the world.

LitNet’s Etienne van Heerden said, “We are creating one of the world’s leading literary services growth companies. Both our companies focus their businesses in highly attractive sectors of the literary services industry. Together, we will be the global leader in literary servicing, and one of the top providers of book and publishing management worldwide. Together, we will have the scale, the technology, the capital, and the people we need to compete and win in the rapidly expanding global marketplace.”

BOOK SA’s Ben Williams said, “The merger creates an extraordinarily strong and rapidly growing global competitor in our core businesses. Through this merger, we will be able to invest and expand more effectively than any of our competitors due to our combined scale, profitability and global reach. The organic growth of our respective companies is already strong, and the cost savings and revenue synergies opportunities are excellent. Together, we will have the best service in the world, strong performance and the highest literary standards.”

The transaction has been unanimously approved by each company’s staff complement and is expected to be completed by April 23, World Book Day.

The release goes on a bit from there, but I won’t bore you with the rest.

BOOK SA staff, needless to say, are ecstatic at the prospect of getting full medical and dental along with their corner offices in the Media24 building on Cape Town’s foreshore. Afrikaanse woordeboeke have been handed out and we’re currently all brushing up!

Watch this space for further news, and get ready for the unveiling, in just a few short weeks, of LitNet met BOOK SA!

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    April 1st, 2009 @16:39 #
     
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    For shame Ben. When I saw that headline I nearly had a heart attack.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 1st, 2009 @16:41 #
     
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    Hey, Ben ... April Fool's jokes before noon only, please.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    April 1st, 2009 @16:41 #
     
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    I was highly suspicious from the very start of this opus. Ben-Editor selling out and going corporate? Nooit, I told myself.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 1st, 2009 @16:46 #
     
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    But it's a good one because it has an edge of feasibility...

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    April 1st, 2009 @16:49 #
     
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    More than an edge, Louis. It's entirely factual. We, the employees, are indeed glad to be on Discovery and getting a pension. You might be glad to leave Corporate South Africa, but we feel, perhaps, differently.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 1st, 2009 @16:55 #
     
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    I'm going to wait til tomorrow to comment further......

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  • <a href="http://imago.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sophy</a>
    Sophy
    April 1st, 2009 @17:03 #
     
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    I guess Ben planned the timing of this post poorly, everyone is skeptical on April Fool's Day. I was unhappy about the move at first but I think it's for the best; with Litnet we not only get medical (and I hear Discovery is good) but also just better equipment. The plan is to move the team all onto the latest Apple laptops for more productive blogging. Very exciting!

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    April 1st, 2009 @17:20 #
     
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    Yaa, Yaa, Yaa, (as Ferial would say) pull the other one Sophy...

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    April 1st, 2009 @18:01 #
     
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    Congrats! Getting money to expand your business plan so that you can reach more people who would like to get involved in reading South African literature and thereby SELLING more books and making a society that lauds and respects and looks to their writers as voices of their country's ethos, getting onto a platform that brings literature on par with online news, health, music, TV and other pop culture stuff that people consume IS NOT A BAD THING.

    Well done guys :)

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    April 1st, 2009 @18:02 #
     
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    Hold on

    Ben called himself Deputy Editor. I'll wait until further comment ....

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    April 1st, 2009 @20:15 #
     
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    I also nearly had a heart attack. Until I read Ben and Etienne's statements. "Rapidly growing global competitor in our core businesses"? "Together we will be the global leader in literary servicing"? Excellent satire, esp the name of the "merged" sites...

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 1st, 2009 @22:05 #
     
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    For all you doubters out there:

    http://tinyurl.com/litnet-met-booksa

    Looking forward to continuing this convo on SêNet.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    April 1st, 2009 @22:10 #
     
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    *Snorting with mirth* Peeps, check this out. Much more spoofy than the above unnervingly accurate reflection of corp-speak:

    "Mnr Ben Williams, voormalige bestuurder van Book SA, is gesekondeer na LitNet se hoofkantoor op Stellenbosch. [Hier] sal mnr Williams optree as Melt Myburgh se persoonlike assistent. Williams se primêre taak sal wees om alle briewe wat op SêNet verskyn, deur te gaan vir fatsoenlikheid."

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    April 1st, 2009 @22:14 #
     
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    Lag my dood vir bostaande. Mnr Myburgh kry vir hom n lekker dodgy assistent.

    "Slakkepos" - bwahahahaha!!!

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:04 #
     
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    Ok, it was an April Fools joke. But it was a good one, wasn't it? Thanks to Etienne van Heerden and LitNet for playing along!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:10 #
     
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    And let's not forget Liesl and Sophy, who really had us going for a minute there (who will ever forget Liesl's plaintive rebuke of Louis as she welcomed her "new" pension plan?)

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:10 #
     
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    I think Louis and Fiona deserve a prize for sussing this straight away. Brilliant gag, by the way.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:13 #
     
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    Let the Leopards Leap flow!

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:13 #
     
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    Thanks, Helen, for noticing the plaintive ring.

    There was the qualifying "maybe" which would have alerted the astute.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:31 #
     
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    Excellent joke, guys. I loved Sophy's excitement at the prospect of the brand new Apple laptops for "more productive blogging". I think she's trying to tell you something there, Ben...

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:45 #
     
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    I had already started moving my blog to LitNet - copy, paste, copy, paste, copy, paste. Rêrig. En ek het my Tweetalige Skoolwoordeboek stofvry gemaak en klaar vir snaakse aksie.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    April 2nd, 2009 @09:48 #
     
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    Hahahha! And i award myself the prize for being
    The Most Big Supporter of Money Making In Any Way Possible.

    Nice one Deputy Editor :)

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 2nd, 2009 @10:20 #
     
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    The best April Fools joke I saw yesterday was the story about Manto making a comeback to the health ministry, by "Oliver Sardine":

    http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=971753

    I almost had an aneurysm, then saw the journo's name and remembered the date.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 2nd, 2009 @10:37 #
     
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    BIG PHEW! I had a sleepless night last night, folks. That is the best April Fool's joke I've experienced. It was just so damn believable.
    While I was not sleeping I was trying to draft magnanimous-yet-disappointed responses to the news along the lines of, "I suppose Ben and co are within their rights to want to increase readership and boost their business, but what about us? this is a therapy group not a business!"
    Phew again.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 2nd, 2009 @10:39 #
     
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    Not that I have anything against Litnet - a lovely site. News24, on the other hand...

    Plus, I was going to say, Liesl, you can have medical and a retirement fund without working for the Machine!

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    April 2nd, 2009 @10:48 #
     
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    Louis i am out of the Machine at the Mo! Are you daytime available? I'll email u on Line 2. Any other JHB writers want to celebrate being not corporate with an afternoon drink today?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    April 2nd, 2009 @11:50 #
     
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    The April Fool's joke I liked (but found rather sad) was the Cape Times one about the Cape Town City Council limiting electricity supply every other night after the huge success of Earth Hour. Sad, because I wished it was true; and sadder because very shortly, that's what we're going to have to do.

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  • <a href="http://margieorford.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    Margie
    April 2nd, 2009 @12:24 #
     
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    What about your teeth now? Ben? Liesl? the others? I was so happy to hear you were all getting straightened out. Or was it the mental care you were excited about?

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 2nd, 2009 @12:30 #
     
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    We shall simply soldier toothily on.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    April 2nd, 2009 @12:37 #
     
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    Kathryn, that sounds beyond fantastic and I'd love to. Unfortunately, despite not being corporate, my afternoons are spoken for by kiddiwinks. Mornings are good though, as I've already explained to Louis on Line 2.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    April 2nd, 2009 @12:51 #
     
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    K , we must arrange!

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 2nd, 2009 @14:24 #
     
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    Then morning coffee hour it should be... near my machine?next week Tuesday?

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  • <a href="http://karinamagdalenaszczurek.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Karina</a>
    Karina
    April 2nd, 2009 @14:30 #
     
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    Louis, I would like to send you something for a coffee hour. Can you please send me your address by email? :)

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 2nd, 2009 @14:59 #
     
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    Will do, Karina... intriguing.... I thought I'd sent you it already but will try again.

    Kewl, mystery letters/parcels.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    April 2nd, 2009 @16:29 #
     
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    Fookin hell, 2 April and I also almost had a hartaanval.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 2nd, 2009 @16:43 #
     
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    We really did fool a lot of people with this. I got calls, emails, was manhandled on Facebook, etc.

    Rustum, don't miss this: http://tinyurl.com/litnet-met-booksa

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