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Zimbabwean Startup, Mazwi, looks to revolutionise book distribution and reading

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mazwi-revolutionYou probably remember the Openbook startup from British Council Culture shift challenge that took place earlier this year. The app’s name has changed to Mazwi, and the team is getting ready release their first public version of their app. In a nutshell Mazwi looks to change significantly the way book content is created, distributed and consumed. Using mobile devices the startup aims to give new tools to writers and publishers to create and market books to mobile devices users, who in Zim alone (and they’re not just looking at Zim) are in the millions.

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The startup has just made a post to their blog introducing the new Mazwi and what they working to achieve with the app and platform. You can read it here. Also make sure you read their full story of the startup’s progress since idea inception back in 2010. Because I’m conflicted a bit, I almost didn’t want to say it, but it wouldn’t be fair to not acknowledge that at a global level the attention paid to detail in design and telling the startup’s story and vision is nothing but exceptional. It speaks of deep passion by the team to make this work!

Disclosure: I am one of the startups advisors, something that carried over from my involvement helping organise the Culture Shift Challenge. The founder, Tafadzwa Makura, is also a Techzim contributor.

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4 thoughts on “Zimbabwean Startup, Mazwi, looks to revolutionise book distribution and reading

    1. its a g8 app, but i feel you have a point there, they should decouple their app from the binu platform.

      i think if a competing app comes along that runs on android, ios, html5 & windows mobile without the need for binu will take away market share from them, if ever they become a viable market player. otherwise great concept.

      the other issue is the need for internet access to read the book. the way round piracy for me is not to create another bottleneck where you dont give me ownership of a book i buy.

      to tackle the issue of piracy ask yourself what are the reasons why people pirate. for me its the cost & availability of the books.

      the other thing that a book platform would need is to make it easy for people to self publish & collaborate during the book writing & publishing phase. this will incentivise the book authors to use the platform not only for distribution but for publishing.

      i think it would be better to make the books cheaper & readily available i.e sell the books for say r20 (usd2) and give people a digital copy. & make sure people can buy it via sms billing (using their airtime).

      as an incentive for people to have their own digital copy, offer interactive features (audio, pop outs e.t.c) for books and some other features.

      the idea is to say these interactive features can only be accessed if your book has an account tied to it (meaning its not pirated), also offer free updates.

      the reasoning is, the book is so cheap and readily available that people have an incentive not to pirate.

      plus to have the latest version of the book & interactive features the book will be linked to a single account on the platform. -just musing

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