A Business Built Around Namibian Books
Nestled in the heart of Windhoek is a little bookstore with Namibian patriotism displayed on the shelves as literature. “We try to have all Namibian books available and anything about Namibia.” Explains owner, Angela Hofmeyer, who goes on to say, “people want Namibian products, they want Namibian books.” Talking the business of running a book store, reading, and getting the work of more Namibian writers sold, 99FM’s MYD Smart spoke to Angela from the Namibian Book Market.
“You are constantly exposed to interesting people, to interesting stories.”
Selling to both tourists as well as the local market, Angela explains, “Lodges, curio shops etc. want anything you have from Namibia; about Namibia. We also have a lot of people who come in who do research, or who are interested in Namibian history. They want Namibian publications.”
The shelves are filled with field guides and biographies, children’s stories and historical publications, short stories and educational books. Most of which are either Namibian or African, with a few International titles in between.
As a book store that focuses mainly on Namibian publications, when asked what advice Angela has for young aspiring writers to find their work on the shelves of the Namibian Book Market and into the hands of more Namibians and tourists alike. “Work with professionals, work with publishers. Get proper advice. Quality is often not there when you self-publish. We had an example recently, it was such a pity, we had to return a lot of children’s books to a young lady because the printer she used messed up her books. You could see she just didn’t get proper advice.” Says Angela.
“It’s always sad when we have to turn down authors and tell them that it’s not going to sell. We buy one or two books and then they sit on the shelf.” This isn’t the case for most Namibian books though explains Angela, “most of them go really well.”
“There are tough lessons you learn but, at the same time it’s really rewarding and you can do well with your business, but you have to push through, even if it’s tough or if you are tired.”
A history of selling books that runs in her family, as well as a passion for reading, saw Angela grab the opportunity to own a book store when one came along. “I was on the look out for something to do on my own. I’ve always wanted my own business.” Says Angela.
“For me there are so many reasons to read. It’s great fun and at the same time you learn so much.”
Talking her experience as a business owner, Angela notes that especially in the beginning it is tough. “Starting a business is tough and you’ll have to go through it for quite a while without earning a cent but, you just have to push through.” She adds, “there are tough lessons you learn but, at the same time it’s really rewarding and you can do well with your business, but you have to push through, even if it’s tough or if you are tired.”
When asked about reading, Angela notes, “For me there are so many reasons to read. It’s great fun and at the same time you learn so much. It helps develop your language skills and it helps develop your thinking.” She adds, “We still have the majority of the people in our country who can’t afford books, but thankfully we have libraries.”
Surrounded in stories, Angela’s days are filled with the things she loves and it shows. “It’s still fun to see what’s new and what’s coming out. Many of the books look beautiful. You are constantly exposed to interesting people, to interesting stories.”
Find Namibia Book Market at Macadam Street, Gruener Kranz Building in Windhoek or through their website by clicking here
Written by Kirsty Watermeyer