The Ghana Publishers Association has urged publishers not to put books with errors on the market.
Speaking at the stakeholders meeting on the topic, “The State of Publishing Industry in Ghana: Challenges and Prospects”, Mr Asare Konadu Yamoah, President of GPA, said they should not overlook errors in their publication but clean them out ahead of selling them.
He lauded the contributions of the Association, since 1976, to the development of education and human resource development towards national advancement.
Mr Yamoah, however, said there was more room for improvement so members should aspire for excellence.
He said since the inception of the GPA, the publishing landscape had been transformed from a foreign dominated one to a largely indigenous publishing industry.
They were, however, lagging when it came to tertiary publishing.
He identified some challenges to be addressed as the lack of National Book and Reading Policies to regulate the development, assessment, production and distribution of books, and reading; and lack of professionalism, among some publishers in Ghana, reduced the quality of most of the books published.
Others are the high cost of printing in Ghana due to high cost of printing materials and multiple taxes on printing as compared to the cost of foreign printing; and low level of electronic publishing system.
“Most of the Ghanaian publishers do not publish and sell online and the factors may include lack of training and expertise to publish online; fear of piracy and lack of interest in e-book publishing,” he said.
“The over-reliance on only the traditional publishing will not help the book industry to grow. During the pandemic, African publishing industry has been the hardest hit because of little or no proceeds from electronic publishing.
“Also, there are funding challenges to undertake robust advocacy programmes to influence policies and redirect government’s focus.”
Giving a background to the progress of the Association, he said it engaged the government through the Ministry of Education to end its publishing of books, consequently, in 1997, the Ministry of Education scrapped the publishing wing of the Ministry, which was being handled by the Curriculum Research and Development Division (CRDD).
“This followed the liberalisation of textbook publishing, which successfully introduced for the first time, privately written and published textbooks into the schools, based on the Textbook Development and Distribution Policy (TDDP), which was drafted by the stakeholders,” he said.
The Association also collaborated with the Non-Formal Education Division from 1997 to 2010 to produce Ghanaian Language readers for teaching and learning programmes.
He said the GPA had over the years, contributed to reading and literacy promotion in Ghana through collaborations with UNESCO and the Ghana Library Authority.
Additionally, the Association and its members, collaborated with the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom to procure Ghanaian readers for schools for a reading promotion in 1999.
“It was an opportunity that improved the quality of the content and style of supplementary readers, which have been evidenced by the number of titles in circulation,” he said.
He said it’s flagship programme, the Ghana International Book Fair since 2005, had been a faithful advocate on the promotion of books and image of the Ghana Publishers Association and industry at large.
“There is also an ongoing consultation with the Ghana Book Development Agency Bill (GBDA). This is to increase the GBDC’s authority and enable it to play a meaningful role in the book industry space,” he said.
He said the GPA, through its advocacy, had been able to increase membership and by extension the number of indigenous publishers.
From an initial number of 11, the Association now has 120 indigenous publishers as members.
“This has created a lot of job opportunities for Ghanaians; notably, graduates from the Department of Publishing Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology,” he said.
Mr. Ernest Oppong, the Assistant Executive Secretary of the Ghana Publishers Association, educated the participants on the benefits a member enjoyed from the Association, including capacity building, networking, advocacy, information sharing, best practices, trade promotion and international exposure.