As you know, we are doing research on the publishing industry in Uganda. I must say it has been very interesting interacting with different people within the field of publishing. It truly was a Katch Up with publishing gurus.
Last week, I got the opportunity to meet Charles Batumbuze. Before I introduce him, let me tell you that everyone I asked about the publishing industry was like no no, you need to first talk to this gentleman. All other things come after and boy o boy, did I understand why
Piracy is affecting the royalties of authors and discouraging many from writing. Books are not only be pirated but also photocopying and scanning without authorization is taking place.Charles Batumbuze
Walking into his office, I first was shocked to realise that he is part of the National Cultural Forum, only to find out that he was indeed the vice-chairperson. National Culture Forum is a private sector-led body registered as a non-profit with a mission to harness creative talent for the development of the creative and cultural industries. Well, if you know me and my passion for the creative economy, you would understand the excitement I had.
Charles Batumbuze however wears many hats and it is one hat that I was particularly interested in. It was the one as executive director of Uganda Reproduction Rights Organisation (URRO).
URRO protects copyright, licenses users of copyrighted works, collects fees and distributes royalties on behalf of writers and publishers. So clearly this was the man to talk to. And yes he brought it down. Here was a man so passionate about the publishing industry in Uganda that he had the entire history from the time a printing press was brought to publish bibles. But I am not going to tell you everything. You are gonna have to wait for the full report…
“In a space of five years, Ugandan authors have gone from 500 published books to over 1000. Ugandans are taking the reign and telling their own stories”Daniel Osinde
Next on the agenda was Mr Daniel Osinde, the Head of Technical Services, National Library of Uganda. The National Library with The National Library Act 2003 became the National Bibliographic control agency responsible for ensuring legal deposit of materials by publishers, publishing the national bibliography of Uganda, allocating the International Standard Book Numbers(ISBN) and establishing and managing a national collection of Uganda.
It was in the course of writing my book where I then needed an ISBN that I first met Mr Osinde….well on phone. He was most helpful as it was lockdown in the nation and we could not move anywhere so he sorted everything out for me. All I needed was to fill in the document and send it and wala, I had my ISBN number so naturally, in this research it was to him, I went.
Guys, people are writing books in this nation. His office was filled from floor to roof with books and he was like oooh this is just a few for this week. There was even more that we have already processed. This indeed goes to show that Ugandans are indeed taking charge of their voices and sharing their messages with the world.
Well, that’s the Katch Up with Koffee KaraVan- A Brew of Publishing so wherever you are, why not grab a cuppa and pick up a book by an African Author-yes I am biased and relax. Do share your insights into publishing in the comment section.