PURPOSE – This paper aims to investigate the electronic short books phenomenon from the USA and
the UK which has spilled over to South Africa. By looking at the benefits these short books have for
readers and authors, and the possible reasons for their success, the aim is to determine whether or not
these books can be as successful a venture in South Africa as it has been elsewhere.
DESIGN / METHODOLOGY / APPROACH – Information about electronic short books, or e-singles, is
gathered from various sources, including press releases and sales results. Information is gathered to
determine the receptiveness to electronic short books of the South African trade book reading market,
the way South African publishers are presenting e-singles to the market and what the future for
e-singles may be.
FINDINGS – The findings of this paper make it clear that e-singles have found a gap in the market,
providing various benefits to authors and readers, which may have contributed to their success. In
South Africa, the success of e-singles faces unique obstacles, like a weaker reading culture and a poor
awareness of e-books. Publishers need to make a bigger effort to become visible in the eyes of their
readers and need to think about better distribution strategies.
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS / IMPLICATIONS – With comparisons, accuracy is dependent on information
provided by organizations (on their Web sites).
ORIGINALITY / VALUE – This paper offers information about a new publishing trend – only a few months
in South Africa. It offers a look into the state of the trade book industry in South Africa, how e-singles
may function in it and what publishers of e-singles may do to ensure more success. It predicts the future
of e-singles in South Africa based on its unique situation, pointing out what obstacles there may be to