Along with many people – the hall at ISSER (Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research), University of Ghana, Legon was full – I attended the Ghana launch of Kofi Annan’s autobiography, Interventions, on 4 January 2013.
For the most part the event went well, starting only 15 minutes after the stated time [pretty good], and the MC kept things moving. There were a few glitches with the microphone, which meant that it was often hard to hear the relatively soft spoken Kofi Annan when he was delivering his author’s comments, which were very illuminating and of course confidently delivered as usual.
And typically there was one extra person to add to the programme, but on the whole, it flowed fairly well. The refreshments were good – with fresh coconuts and palm wine, in addition to the usual soft drinks, beer and wine. See more details from my colleague, Kajsa Adu, who blogged almost immediately about the launch
My major issue with this event was and is with the book suppliers – in this case EPP – who had a table with some books on it at the beginning of the event, but obviously not enough to cover all those who wished to buy a copy. Disappointment no 1: many of us would have liked to buy a copy to get it autographed and we couldn’t. But OK, there was an announcement to this effect, and we were reassured that if we went to EPP Bookshop at Legon we could get copies.
My immediate reaction, and no doubt that of others: Surely by now publishers and booksellers know that book launches in Ghana are events where attendees buy books, and that many of these same individuals will not go looking for these same books elsewhere after the events?
Disappointment no 2: I went to the EPP Bookshop at Legon – which I have described before – the day after the event, and then I was told “It is finished.” When asked when, the shop attendants replied “this morning”. So needless to say I was not very happy, and indeed another customer who had hoped to buy four copies expressed her dissatisfaction and annoyance in no uncertain terms. We dutifully wrote our names and contact details, and now we hope for the best.
Moral of the story: if you see some books for sale at an event, ask if you can buy some before it starts.