ShapeShifter

Meet Jonathan Ball, founder of South Africa’s leading publisher of English books

I don’t have a stake in the business anymore. I sold it to Naspers.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

The largest quantity of books sold in South Africa are British.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

Jeff Bezos took away a lot of sales from us. But we survived, and survived with profits!

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

Jonathan Ball founded Jonathan Ball Publishers in 1976.

It is leading publisher and distributor of English books in South Africa.

Jonathan Ball Publishers specialises in South African history, politics and current affairs.

It also publishes fiction and acts as agents for British and American publishers, marketing and distributing books on their behalf in southern Africa.

Examples include the Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia series.

Jonathan Ball Publishers is an eight time winner of the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Ball for his “ShapeShifter” feature.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for more quotes from it).

I got poached by the British company Macmillan.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

I am Anglo-South African.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

English is a language that has given me immense pleasure.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

My very first book – South African Society - did quite well! It was prescribed by universities.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

I retired… but I’m often in the office. I’m called ‘publisher at large’.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

None of us would’ve guessed that “Smuts” would sell an excess of 20 000… Smuts made the peace between Afrikaners and the English.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

There’s a smallish paper revival.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

Publishing is quite lively in South Africa.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

South Africa is a fractured country, but it’s a fractured world.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

A lot of the books we commission.

Jonathan Ball, Jonathan Ball Publishers

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This article first appeared on 702 : Meet Jonathan Ball, founder of South Africa’s leading publisher of English books


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