Business News of 2014-06-21

Publishers urged to apply technology, innovation

Publishers in the country have been advised to apply technology and innovation in their publications through the use E-books or E-publication in an attempt to add value to their products and services.

E-books refer to the electronic version of printed books and materials using an electronic gadget and, sometimes, with the aid of the Internet, while E-publishing is the application of technology and innovation in the publication of books or written materials.

The Managing Director of the Type Company Limited, Mr Cobby Asmah, made this remark at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ghana Book Publishers Association (GBPA) held in Accra on Thursday.

Speaking on the theme: “E-books and E-publishing, prospects for the Ghana Book Industry”, Mr Asmah said technology had removed barriers and borders which hampered trade and investments and challenged publishers to adopt E-publication to gain access to a larger market.

Making a case for the use of E-books and E-publication, Mr Asmah said the advent of E-publication and E-books was to complement the publication of printed books, saying that E-books were cheaper than printed books. Describing E-books and E-publication as “convenient”, Mr Asmah said, anyone who had access to an electronic device could download and upload thousands of books, compared to the limited access one had to printed books.

According to Mr Asmah, the application of technology in publishing increases access to literary materials, adding that publishers would earn more from E-publishing than the printing of books due to the expanded access that comes with the former. “Many of us will fall prey to any policy change by the government that affects publishing companies if we do not diversify our portfolios,” he said.

Mr Asmah mentioned the “QR Code” technology adopted by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in its newspaper publications as an example of the application of E-publication. As an added advantage, Mr Asmah said E-books provided the reader or subscriber with alternative links to a particular subject, and pointed out that readers or subscribers could print an E-book material when needed.

Explaining the business aspect of the E-publication, Mr Asmah stated that publishers could charge an amount on books to be accessed by readers, and explained that this aspect could rake in foreign exchange revenue for the country. He also encouraged publishers to take advantage of distance education and online courses organised by institutions and individuals in Ghana through the publication of E-books.

The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, in a speech read on her behalf, said the government had distributed over one million computers to students and teachers to promote teaching and learning, and urged local publishers to play a pioneering role in the provision of the requisite electronic content to make the distribution of the computers more meaningful.

Prof. Opoku Agyeman gave the assurance that the Ministry of Education would collaborate with the GBPA to address the needs of the publishing industry to ensure a knowledge-driven society. In his address, the President of the GBPA, Dr Samuel Osafo Acquaah, pledged the commitment of the association to improve literacy in the country.

He said books and education were the catalyst to economic growth and development in every country, and advised the government to ensure early payments to publishers.