Authors at the 2015 Zimbabwe International Book Fair say publishers should print cheaper books for the local market to enable people to purchase and promote a reading culture in the country.
Speaking at the ZIBF Wednesday, authors said the failure by publishers to provide cheaper books for the local market is depriving writers of the much-needed income and readers a chance to access their creative works.
Author Virginia Phiri said the current harsh economic situation in the country is seriously affecting the book market.
”It’s all in a real economic situation that is in a mess," said Phiri. "And at the same time the schools also find themselves in a situation that they are tempted to use pirated books with the knowledge of the headmasters, the teachers, and the Ministry of Education is also very helpless."
The authors and publishers discussed problems facing their industry, in particular copyright issues, piracy, the need for a national information technology policy, cultural policy and the cost of books, among others things.
Publishers were urged to purchase modern equipment to allow them to publish books at a cheaper price.
But Phiri said most of the solutions offered aren’t feasible unless the country's economy is fixed.
“For solutions people always say, well we can go do raids, we can go and arrest these people, we can go and do A, B, C, D, all sorts of things," she said.
"But I think, personally as Virginia Phiri the author, I find that the only solution is an economic situation whereby if we fix the economy and put things right, things will improve.”
She like other authors said cheaper books can help flush out pirates but adds a stable economy is key to ending piracy and related ills facing writers today in Zimbabwe.
The ZIBF is running under the theme “Growing the Knowledge Economy through Research, Writing, Publishing and Reading” and is now open to the public until Saturday.