Top 5 publishing companies in Africa
July 22, 2021
The book publishers industry entails revenues generated by organizations, entrepreneurs or partnerships) that carry out design, editing, and marketing activities necessary for producing and distributing books.
The book publishers market is segmented into consumer books; educational books and religious books.
The global book publishers market is expected to grow from $87.92 billion in 2020 to $92.68 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4%. The growth is mainly due to the companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has acted as a significant restraint on some of the book publishers’ markets in 2020 as businesses were disrupted due to lockdowns imposed by governments globally.
It is expected that the book publishers’ market will recover from the shock across the forecast period as it is a black swan event and not related to ongoing or fundamental weaknesses in the market or the global economy.
Global Book Publishing Industry Stats and Trends
- The US book publishing industry generated an estimated $26.23 billion in net revenue.
- 2 million books are published each year.
- Fifty-five percent of all trade book purchases in the U.S. were Amazon sales.
- The USA accounts for 29% of global book sales by revenue.
- Africa was the smallest region in the global book publishers market.
- The global big 5 publishers are Penguin Random House, Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Simon, and Schuster, and Macmillan Publishers.
Without further ado, here they are top book publishers from Africa continent in 2021 according to recent data, along with profiles of who they are and what they have been able to accomplish over the years!
- Company name :Literamed Publications Nig. Ltd
Founder : Otunba Olayinka Lawal-Solarin
Country of origin : Nigeria
Notable imprints : Lantern Books
Year Established : 1969 , 51 years
Notable Titles : lantern verbal reasoning, lantern qualitative reasoning, kunle,the village boy, one good turn, the cunning tortoise, the honey bee and the bee eater etc.
Awards : Readership Promotion Award of the Nigeria Book Foundation in 1995
The African Refugees Foundation (AREF) Merit Award as supporter in 1998.
Literamed Publications Nigeria Limited was founded in 1969, is Nigeria’s leading Children’s book publisher. Its imprint “Lantern books” is now a household name in Nigeria and West Africa.
The company’s head office is situated in Lagos, Nigeria with depots across cities the country and a West African office in Accra, Ghana.
The believe in the power of education and passionately committed to providing an all-round education to children and young adults by making books available for learning and leisure is the core philosophy of Literamed publishing as a company.
The company has stay true to its core objectives of over 5 decades which are to publish curriculum, relevant textbooks to provide for children sound educational foundation ,to bring books closer to the people for education and self improvement, to provide total education for children, to revitalise and stimulate reading culture.
The founder and chief executive officer, Otunba Olayinka Lawal-Solarin, a distinguished Pharmacist and Publisher was born in Sagamu Ogun State.
He was educated at Wesley School Sagamu, Remo Secondary School Sagamu, Norwood College United Kingdom, University of Bradford School of Pharmacy and Portsmouth University School of Pharmacy United Kingdom.
After graduation, he worked with the Boots Chemists in United Kingdom, he returned to Nigeria and was employed in Leventis Stores where he set up the Pharmacy division. He worked for Boots Company Nigeria as Field Sales Representative.
Otunba Lawal-Solarin started his own business as a Retail Pharmacist and became proprietor and Managing Director of Corona Chemists Nigeria in 1969.
The same year, he was the first to start medical publishing in Nigeria with Medipharm, a medical index of pharmaceutical specialities, the first of its kind in Africa. This led to the incorporation of Literamed Publications Nigeria Limited in 1969 which has not only published Medipharm and other medical journals but children’s books.
With its imprint, Lantern Books, which has become the companion of every nursery and primary school pupil, Literamed Publications Nigeria Limited is one of the largest publishers of children’s books in Nigeria.
Otunba O.M. Lawal-Solarin belongs to several Professional Associations: African Publishers Network, former president Nigerian Publishers Association, a Trustee and Chairman of the Nigerian Book Fair Trust.
He is the former Chairman of National Anti-piracy Committee of the Nigeria Copyright Commission.
He is married to Bjorg Bjorseth and they are blessed with three sons and a daughter. Otunba Lawal-Solarin finds pleasure in reading, music and golf.
2 Company name : Cassava Republic Press
Founder(s) : Bibi Bakare-Yussuf , Jeremy Weate
Country of origin : Nigeria
Notable imprints : Cassava Republic Press, Ankara Press
Year Established : 2006, 15 years
Notable Titles : An unusual grief, A man is not a man, Unbury our dead with song, Accra noir
Awards : Independent Publishers Guild’s Alison Morrison Diversity Award in March 2018
Inclusivity in Publishing Award @ London book fair 2018
Distinguished Africanist Award from the African Studies Association of the UK.
Website : www.cassavarepublic,biz
Cassava Republic Press was founded in Abuja, Nigeria, 2006 with the aim of bringing high quality fiction and non-fiction for adults and children alike to a global audience. The company currently have offices in Abuja, London, Lagos and presence in New York.
The main mission for setting up the company is to change the way people think about African writing. it is important that a contemporary African prose should be rooted in African experience in all its diversity, whether set in filthy-yet-sexy megacities such as Lagos or Kinshasa, in little-known communities outside of Bahia, in the recent past or indeed the near future.
The company also believed also that the time has come to build a new body of African writing that links writers and readers from Benin to Bahia. It’s therefore the right time to ask challenging questions of African writing – where have we come from, where are we now, where are we going? They have strategically positioned themselves to play a major role in in addressing these questions, as our list grows.
In 2006, the co-founder Bibi Bakare-Yusuf — previously an academic in the uk and Nigeria, with a PhD in gender studies from the University of Warwick, she set up a company, with her partner Jeremy Weate, to produce high-quality African literature at a price that would enable it to be enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible.
While speaking in one of her numerous interviews, she said they had no business or publishing experience, “just passion and a desire to see African stories written and owned by Africans. Inspirational figures in publishing such as Margaret busby, co-founder of Allison & busby, were our guide”, as Bakare-Yusuf has recalled.
“When I moved to Nigeria as an academic, there were all these interesting African writers being published abroad, and they’re not available locally…. So I decided, ‘okay, I’m going to start a publishing company’. Cassava Republic Press. I knew nothing, nothing nothing nothing, about publishing! I knew everything about reading and writing, but nothing about the business of publishing. 150 million people. 77 million of them young people under 30. How do we get those people reading? Those are the people I’m actually interested in converting. We want to convert minds. We want to convert them to question who they are, and also question society”.
Explaining the company’s name, she says: “cassava is a relatively affordable but nutritious food crop found across West Africa and in the africa diaspora. I wanted a publishing house that will connect Africa to itself and its diaspora and vice versa. The idea of a Republic implies the end of a monarchy and a fresh start…. The slogan for the company is ‘Feeding the African Imagination’, which fits nicely with our brand name.”
Bakare-Yusuf emphasises the need for Africans to be instrumental in publishing as well as writing books: “We started Cassava Republic Press because we wanted Africans to own the means of production, to be in charge of the storytelling and not just writing the stories but to own the facilities and the infrastructure for telling the stories.”
Headquartered in abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, Cassava Republic has built a reputation primarily for literary fiction (with authors including winners of the Caine Prize, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Orange Prize) but also for fiction in other genres, such as crime. In addition, the list includes books for children and young adults, and several titles have been on Nigeria’s national curriculum.
Among notable authors published by the company are Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Lola Shoneyin, Teju Cole, Helon Habila, Elnathan John, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ, Chigozie Obioma, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Christie Watson, John Collins, Sade Adeniran, Toni Kan, Doreen Baingana, and others.
In October 2019, Cassava Republic Press was announced as one of five African organizations each to have been awarded a $20,000 grant from the African Publishing Innovation Fund in order to launch innovative projects that will develop literacy, book accessibility, and the use of indigenous African languages in literature.
3. Company name : Pearson South Africa
Founder(s) : Sphere Holdings
Country of origin : South Africa
Notable imprints : Addison Wesley, Adobe Press, Allyn & Bacon, Apple
Certified, BBC Active, Becker & Mayer, Benjamin Cummings, Cisco Press, Financial
Times Publishing, Heinemann, HP Press, IBM Press, Igloo, Kagiso, Kumon, Letterland,
Longman, Manning, Maskew Miller Longman etc.
Year Established : 1972, 48 years
Notable Titles : stars of Africa, Kumon workbooks, Letterkids etc Annual Revenue : $1.35 million in sales (USD)
Awards : Sefika awards
Wrbsite : za.pearson.com
PEARSON EDUCATION SOUTH AFRICA (PTY) LTD is located in WESTERN CAPE, Western Cape, South Africa and is part of the Manufacturing Sector Industry. PEARSON EDUCATION SOUTH AFRICA (PTY) LTD has 65 total employees across all of its locations.
PEARSON is the world’s learning company with more than 24,000 employees in nearly 70 countries and they are on a mission to help people make progress in their lives through learning. They combine world-class educational content and assessment, powered by services and technology, to enable more effective teaching and personalised learning at scale.
The firm serve learners, teachers, and employers worldwide; they work at every point of the learning journey, from pre-school to the workplace. And because they know that for most of their learners, education and training are a means to an end – a job that supports them and their family – employability is the ultimate purpose of what they do.
PEARSON EDUCATION SOUTH AFRICA (PTY) LTD are in partnership with Sphere Holdings who share the firm passion and commitment to education and has enable to continue to positively impact many thousands of learners across South Africa.
According to the company representative, “For Pearson, providing great products and services is just the beginning. It’s important for us to know that they are working. Everything we do is driven by its measurable impact on learning outcomes. We call this efficacy. In 2013, we announced our commitment to report publicly on our progress and make the results transparent. We were the first education company to make this commitment”.
“By focusing on the efficacy of our products and services, we can see exactly how effective they are at producing successful outcomes for learners. This involves continually measuring, assessing, and improving everything we do and putting the learner at the heart of our learning solutions.”
“We work with educators and learners to continually improve our products and services, ensuring they have the most positive impact on learning. In this way, we’re able to deliver better education to more people – whatever, whenever, wherever, and however they choose.”
Every day all over South Africa, our products and services help learning flourish. Because wherever learning flourishes, so do people”.
4 Company name : Tanmia Bookshop & publishing house
Founder(s) : Khaled Lutfi
Country of origin : Egypt
Notable imprints : Tanmia Press
Year Established. : 2011, 10 years
Notable Titles : The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, Darwish’s poem, ‘Think of Others’
Awards : International Publishers Association’s award (IPA) 2019 Prix Voltaire
Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literature award.
Tanmia was founded in 2011 and later gave birth to a highly respected publishing house. The publishing house brought out a number of acclaimed authors in translation.
Tanmia also published original works in Arabic, including a children’s book version of Mahmoud Darwish’s poem ‘Think of Others’, which won an Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literature.
Khaled Lotfy, the bookstore’s owner and founder, got his start in the world of bookselling by working for about nine years for a large distribution company in Egypt.
During his stint in distribution business, Lotfy developed a network of contacts which extend beyond the shores of Egypt and slowly began to accumulate a large collection of literature and other books from around the Arab world.
As his collection grew, and with the encouragement of several friends and colleagues who came to him for books they couldn’t find anywhere else in the souq, Lotfy began to lay plans for opening Tanmia, though he was initially slowed down by the revolution during the Egyptian Arab spring.
While some may think there would be rivalry among the many bookstores and publishing houses in downtown, the founder in one of his past interviews said, it was, in fact, Omar Bookstore that helped him find and secure Tanmia’s storefront on Hoda Shaarawy St. Indeed, for the most part there exists a friendly camaraderie among the various bookstore owners and publishers,.
He also added, “everyone knows that downtown is the place to go for culture and books.”
Tanmia Bookstore is a family-run business, and Lotfy runs the store with the help of his brothers. They have plans to expand the store and add several new branches, but they’re waiting until they drum up enough business first.
This is a good bookstore to go to for literature when looking for books from outside of Egypt. Don’t let the small size of the bookstore fool you; they has a large, off-site warehouse where he keeps thousands of books. Their collections of books are so diverse that it covers areas part from literatures and ranging from school books to medieval texts, religious books, science, economics, and more, their selection of literature is quite good and takes up about a quarter of the store.
In the spring of 2013, bestsellers, Booker short-list novels, well-known names like Mahfouz, Hakim, and Taher, as well as more popular literature (including in translation) were found on the more prominently displayed in the store.
The founder , Lotfy is planning on expanding their operations once Tanmia acquires a storefront large enough to accommodate book release parties and the like.
On February 4,2019, he was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of releasing military secrets and spreading rumours for having distributed an Arabic translation of the book The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, by Uri Bar-Joseph.
It seems this imported title was expensive so Lutfi signed an agreement with Arab Scientific Publishers to publish a cheaper, Egyptian edition of the book. Observers say this made the book accessible to more people and thus attracted the attention of the authorities.
The Egyptian publisher Khaled Lutfi has been awarded the International Publishers Association’s (IPA) 2019 Prix Voltaire,the award was reported to come with about £7,000 in cash, The presentation of the 2019 Prix Voltaire award took place on the 21st of June at the Seoul International Book Fair in South Korea.
5. Company name : Phoenix Publishers
Founder(s) : Gacheche Waruingi
Country of origin : Kenya
Notable imprints : Phoenix Press
Year Established. : 1988, 33 years
Notable Titles : A feast with the Dragon, Kushu Kazi, Beautiful Nyakio, Mgomba Changaraweni, The secret of the Lizard
Awards : CODE Burt Prize for African Young Adult Literature Kenya 2018 nominee.
Website : https://phoenixpublishers.co.ke
Phoenix Publishers, founded by Gacheche Waruingi, grew out of EAPH’s eventual collapse. Phoenix Publishers opened in with a reissue of EAPH primary school readers, and adopted authors previously published by East Africa publishing House. (EAPH)
Phoenix Publishers was founded in 1988 and concerns with the publishing of Kenyan local materials for educational textbooks and creative works. Various children and teenage fiction is published in English and Kiswahili.
They have over 200 titles both in English and Kiswahili and have an extensive distribution network in the region, comprising the major booksellers in Kenya and collaborating publishers in Uganda and Tanzania. The company is renown and pride itself in the affordability of their collections of products which serves as part of the firm contribution to affordable education in Kenya.
The company vision is to be the market leader in the provision of excellent books, with an emphasis on children’s readers and to do this in a healthy, profitable business environment with overall objective to develop and market carefully-selected, well-edited and tastefully-designed books for leisure reading for the children of this country and the rest of the Africa region.
Most of their titles have changed lives, inspired a generation and helped shape a culture of reading and positive curiosity among our children. Millions of copies have been sold over the last three decades and published countless titles from the East African region, Africa and the World. The company teenage, high school and tertiarily level titles have also gained enormous fame for the way they are meticulously presented, edited and packaged.
Phoenix Publishers Ltd is a leading publishing house based in Nairobi,Kenya which has been in existence for over 30 years. Over the last three decades, Phoenix Publishers has established itself as the undisputed leader in Children’s literature.
Phoenix Publishers Mobile App and Website have been developed by the creative team here at Clinet Online. Both the Mobile App and Website include an eCommerce platform for selling book titles, an E-book reader and an efficient book listing system.
The Mobile App and Website are both fresh, beautifully designed and optimized for speed with an intention of making just the perfect impression to clients and potential clients.
We have the top 5 book publishers in the Africa publishing business today. Were they in the order you thought? Are there any others you believed should make the lists or should be exempted .please feel free to add to the lists and Let us know in the comments below.