ZIMBABWE Academic and Non-Fiction Authors' Association president, Dr Samuel Makore, yesterday said the book industry was no longer vibrant due to raft of problems including piracy, lack of reading culture and lax implementation of copyright law.
Makore was speaking ahead of this year's edition of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) which will run between July 27 and August 1 under the theme: Growing the Knowledge Economy through Research, Writing, Publishing and Reading.
"We have the Zimbabwe Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act which has everything to prevent piracy, which is theft of intellectual property, but we have no vehicle to control piracy of which there is need to introduce harsher penalties if Zimbabwe is to win the battle against book piracy," Makore said.
He said it was disturbing that photocopied literary works found their way into the streets selling at very cheap prices and thereby negatively affecting royalties due to the authors.
He said Zimbabwe needed to learn from countries such as South Africa and Kenya which had sound book policies and vibrant reading cultures.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe International Book Fair Association (ZIBFA) chairperson Obey Bvute told a Press conference on Tuesday that there was need to reconfigure the ZIBFA model in line with the government's new curriculum imperatives as envisaged in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education 2015-22 curriculum blueprint.
"New publishing models are emerging in response to demand for real-time dissemination of information like Open Access Model, dynamic content, more collaborative research and authoring environments and usage of rich media. This will see promotion of innovation where Zimbabwe will be able to develop or acquire digital technologies to publish course materials for global distribution in a way that has never been contemplated in the print era," Bvute said.
He said the new era at ZIBFA will foster transformation through advocacy and co-ordinated action plans of the book industry aimed at the creation of new product types enabled by digital technologies.
Bvute said ZIBFA appreciates the idea that educators, writers, book publishers and librarians are a service sector that can be legitimately tapped by the knowledge economic market.
He said this year's edition of the Book Fair was going to actively focus on anti-piracy to promote the welfare and intellectual property rights of writers and publishers.
"This will require us to collectively look at new ways of curbing piracy and learn from other countries on how they protect intellectual property rights even in the face of both the print and digital knowledge economy," he said.
-ZIBF has since September 2013 run several anti-piracy programmes targeting writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and printers, but the effort has failed to produce the desired results.
The ZIBFA exhibition will have the usual Writers Workshop, Publishers, Booksellers and Librarians Workshop as well as The Meet the Author Sessions, The Live Literature Centre, Children's Reading Tent and the Digital Zone.
Bvute said some of the unique activities and topics to be presented at this year's Indaba and Book Fair are The Junior Achievers Competition, The Teachers Square, The Book Voucher purchase scheme, School Prizes (Best performing schools in 2014 Exams) and Live literature – Poetry Slam/Renowned Artist.