Alert! Dear Friends, take a seat, Your Correspondent has got some big news.
Some of you will know that, over the past year, BOOK SA has been looking for a partner to help ensure our ongoing growth and viability.
After entertaining a number of scenarios, which became quite frenzied at certain points, we’ve finally found the right match. It’s with a mixture of giddiness and trepidation, then, that I can tell you that our network is moving into the Avusa Media stable.
Avusa Media are the publishers of the Sunday Times, Sowetan and several other newspapers (and websites, including Times LIVE). Tymon Smith, whose reputation in our world is well-established, is Avusa Media’s books man, and we’re proud to now call him a colleague.
Since BOOK SA began, way back in ’06, we’ve had to fend off several suitors (including a fake one), but this deal was the right one to make, for two reasons: it serves the original mission of BOOK SA, which is to promote and sell South African literature on a wider scale; and it contains provisions which guarantee BOOK SA’s essential “personality”. We’re going to grow, yes, but we’re not going to lose our identity. I might add that the deal has the blessing of BOOK SA’s major financial supporters, namely SA’s publishers, and is supported by BOOK SA staff.
You’ll doubtless have questions! Here follow a few notes on what can be expected in the coming weeks and months.
Re-branding BOOK SA will take on the name Books LIVE sometime in May or June. I personally like the chance, as “Books LIVE” amounts to a neat summary of what we already do. You can keep calling it BOOK SA if you like, of course :)
Sunday Times and Times LIVE book feature hosting In future, when looking for book-related stories in these two papers, you’ll find them on our network.
International content We’ll soon start posting select international book news to BOOK SA, making it a proper clearinghouse of all things current in our world of lit. SA books will, of course, remain our editorial focus, and SA authors will comprise our network.
Front page tweaks We’ll be redesigning parts of our front page to accommodate new content.
Blogging terms and conditions will change a bit for those who are on our network, to come into line with Avusa’s publishing policies, but won’t be vastly different from the Ts and Cs that the network currently operates under. Of course, all your content will remain exactly that: yours.
BOOK Finder and BOOK Chat will remain essentially the same, although we’ll be looking into better supporting platforms for both.
Faster website & backend upgrades We’ll be bringing you better hosting and more blogging tools in the coming months. The WordPress platform that powers BOOK SA won’t change.
Little White Bakkie Our ebooks store will soon start carrying local books for sale to South Africans – and indeed everyone in the world – which is the development that I’m possibly the most excited about. Can’t wait to provide digital download alternatives in our BOOK Finder results!
Ben-Editor isn’t going anywhere. My job will be the same as it’s always been: to make SA Lit newsworthy in as many ways, online, as possible.
A word of thanks from me, to you, for believing in BOOK SA as we’ve grown and changed. Thank you for sharing your book and writers’ news and for taking the lead in important conversations. We couldn’t have progressed as far as we have without you.
Onward to new book frontiers, then, comrades! Thanks again for being part of BOOK SA.