CityLife Arts

Public prevails to save publisher from collapsing

By Edward Tsumele
“Thank you , thank you, thank you!”. This is the headline of a statement sent out  on Friday, July 17, by  book publisher Jacana Media, to members of the public who prevailed to save the publisher of some of the most progressive literature  in post Apartheid South Africa from certain collapse by donating money to keep the business going.

Jacana Media, like several other businesses, was pushed to financial precarity by the onslaught of the rampaging coronavirus on public health globally, as well as on businesses. Publishers were not spared the threat of financial ruin by this novel coronavirus  as a result of lockdowns implemented by governments to limit human to human contact in an effort to curtail the spread of the disease, which has proven fatal.

Doctors have little information about the virus, and are still trying to figure out its nature and character  and manner in which it spreads like wild fire throughout the world, forcing businesses to change the manner in which they operate, in the process, affecting the bottomline.

In South Africa several publishing businesses are currently either retrenching or closing down some operations, including Media 24, which is closing down some publications, including two newspapers and several magazines. Primedia is also retrenching staff, and so is SABC, where a reported 600 jobs are on the line. Associated Media, which among other publications, publishes well known premium lifestyle brand Cosmopolitan magazine, is also closing shop.

“Our fundraising appeal, #PressPrint, was sent out to the world 10 days ago and we have been overwhelmed by the generous financial support from so many. Some of you have posted your own story on why Jacana deserves support on your Facebook pages. Many have sent us truly humbling endorsements and others have offered to help by waiving fees and royalties.  

Every bit helps, and we thank each and every one of you who have contributed and pledged on-going support. We will be writing separately to the growing number of #JacanaLifesavers, to keep you in the picture with how much we have raised so far, and to check whether and how you would like to be recognised on the list of names we will include at the back of our new publications .  

10% of all monies received will be donated in the form of books to libraries and we are busy drawing up the list of books to be donated to libraries through the kind services of Biblionef for books on their website) in Cape Town and Rotary New Dawn Johannesburg, Amina Frense, who will share those donations with community and school libraries.

We need you to help us (please) to keep up the momentum, sharing our appeal with your friends, spreading the word, retweeting our Jacana #PressPrint tweets and sharing our Facebook link.  

The economy isn’t picking up any time soon, but we need to keep publishing,” read the statement from the independent publisher, following a reported positive response from the public for donations that asked for a donation of R30 per month for 12 months so that the company can ease its current liquidity difficulties.

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