Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good-bye to Some African Titles

I've put this off for long enough. It makes me extremely sad but I have to mark a whole bunch of African books as either "Out of Print," "No Longer Carry," or increase the price. Heinemann, who usually carries a lot of African titles, is now owned by Harcourt Brace and has dropped many titles. There may be another purge as I go through the titles but this is the list for now:

No Longer Carry:

Out of Print:

Increased the price:

This is a reflection of a reading public who are barely interested in American authors and have lost interest in literary voices from other countries. I realized that reducing my African titles was going to be necessary last year around the same time that Columbia University closed its African Studies Program which they, under pressure from student and faculty, finally re-opened.

I got a bit depressed last year, maybe too depressed, over this stuff, so I've been working hard to stay positive. I try to look at the situation this way, the reading public is becoming smaller and therefore more specialized. Those of us readers who are left will become "connoisseurs." We have to be the ones to keep literature alive. We have to be open enough to be willing to read literature that is out of our element, i.e. read the literature of many different cultures.


iyan and egusi soup: said...


it really is sad, the number of people unfamiliar with even the most popular african titles.

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