Title page for ETD etd-10272008-080050

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Odendaal, Estelle Rhode
URN etd-10272008-080050
Document Title An exploration of the state of self-publishing in the academic publishing sector of South Africa
Degree MIS
Department Information Science
Advisor Name Title
Dr F C J Galloway Supervisor
  • commercial publishing
  • self-publishing
  • academic publishing
  • publishing
  • textbook
  • higher education
  • print-on-demand technology
  • publishing environment
  • vanity publishing
  • book publishing value chain
Date 2007-09-05
Availability unrestricted
The academic publishing sector in South Africa is facing many changes and challenges in a post- 1994 democracy. Most of these changes were brought about by the Higher Education Act No 101 of 1997. Challenges and new trends include new business and threats from multinational corporations; a limited buying market at higher education level; a need for localised content; new emerging technologies in publishing and knowledge distribution; the merging of 36 higher education institutions into 22; escalating book production costs and book prices; a non-book buying and book reading culture; illegal photocopying and widespread copyright infringement; changing student and lecturer profiles including the language of instruction; increasing pressure on academics to publish research; inefficient student loan schemes; decreasing library acquisition budgets and the transformation of the publishing industry itself in terms of BBBEE.

Within the midst of all these challenges, publishers are faced with a new trend, that of selfpublishing of academic textbooks, which lecturers then prescribe to their own group of students. Self-publishing implies that authors undertake all processes related to publishing on their own, including the financial risk of publishing a book. There is a multitude of literature available on self-publishing, but very little focuses on this trend within the academic environment. A literature survey of self-publishing provided various reasons and conditions for the existence of the phenomenon.

The researcher made use of two questionnaires that were sent to academic campus bookshops and academic self-publishing authors. From the results of these two surveys it is evident that academic self-publishing is an increasing trend in the higher education environment of South Africa. Reasons for self-publishing collected from the literature survey were supported by the empirical research findings from the two surveys. The main reasons for self-publishing in the academic environment include financial incentives; a volatile author-publisher relationship; issues of copyright and control; possible rejection suffered by authors; technological advances and a sense of community service among academics and lecturing staff.

The study was able to prove the existence of academic self-publishing in the higher education environment of South Africa. Academic self-publishing is most apparent in the academic fields of Business, Economics and Management Sciences to the extent that it could have far-reaching financial impact on markets that are traditionally lucrative for commercial publishers. Commercial publishers are encouraged to engage with author associations and seek out possible new alternatives to satisfying author needs in a changing market place.

University of Pretoria 2007

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