A novel approach

“It’s like a soap opera in your hand!”

That’s how publisher Moky Makura describes the series of “bookazines” that Nollybooks publishing is introducing to South African teen readers market.

The novel bookazine concept aims to “make reading cool” by blending the appealing features of magazines with quality writing while telling distinctly South African stories.

“We found that there was a whole market of readers that are just not represented in book stores, so we decided to do something about it,” Makura told M&G Education.

“Our target market starts at girls aged 16 and extends to young women of 24, with a special focus on the black youth market. We found that there were not many books appealing to this demographic.”

The books are not meant to be providing overt moral lessons because the publishers feel that would “take the fun out of reading them”. But the create central characters are ones readers can look up to and take inspiration from, Makura said.

“In all our books the heroine is a morally upright character. Of course we try to reflect reality in our books but we also tried to keep it light and upbeat.”

What makes the Nollybooks concept unique is that its novels contain features usually found in magazines. Makura said the response to this format has been overwhelming since the books were launched last month.

Each novel has interactive features such as word puzzles, quizzes, mini-dictionaries and a celebrity book interview at the back of the book, all for just R50. The bookazines include talking points for discussion at book clubs.

Said Makura: “We want to encourage a culture of reading and one way of doing that would be to get young readers talking about books with their peers. What better way to do that than through book club?”

Most of the authors are being published for the first time and the publishers see it as part of their mission to assist in the development of competent authors. To this end they offer writing and editing tips on their website and also held a writing workshop at the National Book Week event held in Johannesburg recently.

The Nollybook range is available at CNA stores across the country from October and are also available to the book club members for Real, Move and True Love magazines. They are also calling for young entrepeneurs to act as direct agents for the books. For more information email them at [email protected]

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