Giving students and teachers easy access to books – whether textbooks or leisure reading materials – is essential to boost literacy and improve education. Global edtech company, Snapplify is transforming the way educational content is accessed across Africa and in the process, building new opportunities for booksellers and publishers.
Through its award-winning ebook technology and well-established distribution channels, Snapplify enables partners to expand their product offering at pace while providing publishers around the world with greater possibilities of growing sales in Africa.
Meeting market needs
Snapplify has built its tech to address unique challenges faced by the African education market. ‘While digital learning and reading systems inherently overcome some of the issues relating to the availability and delivery of physical books, the market still has unique challenges that need to be addressed by the technology if it is going to serve education best,’ explains Snapplify’s Mark Seabrook. ‘In many regions, e-learning and e-reading adoption is just that much easier with low-data solutions, tools that allow for offline access, and the option for users to share devices if needed.’
In addition to reducing the heavy reliance on expensive data and costly tech infrastructure, Snapplify has partnered with local and international publishers to build an extensive catalogue of titles that is widely applicable to educational institutions across multiple regions.
Meeting these needs has enabled Snapplify to expand into new markets and establish itself as a pan-African edtech leader. Thousands of institutions across the continent have students and academic staff active within the Snapplify ecosystem, from primary schools to tertiary institutions.
During the Covid-19 school closures crisis in 2020, Snapplify facilitated further ebook adoption on the continent, partnering with publishers to provide short-term, no-cost access to half a million e-textbooks, worth millions of US dollars, to students, parents and teachers. For many users, this was their first-ever encounter with digital content, and they have continued to benefit from Snapplify’s inclusive digital tools.
Strategic partnerships with local players
For local booksellers, working with Snapplify is a rapid way to scale their businesses by creating additional distribution channels. ‘We understand that local booksellers are the best at what they do in the market, through longstanding market knowledge and a loyal customer base. Snapplify’s award-winning technology complements this in a unique way, making a successful ebook marketplace possible and improving literacy and learning experiences for students,’ says Seabrook.
With the largest network of independent booksellers in Africa, Snapplify’s strong partnerships with well-established local booksellers are key to achieving growth and reach. Leading booksellers working with Snapplify include Van Schaik (southern Africa), Text Book Centre (East Africa), and Bookworld (Zambia).
In countries that have seen a slow uptake of digital reading materials, Snapplify’s technology and regional relationships are also helping to establish and build ebook markets. Snapplify’s partnership with leading Zambian bookseller Bookworld, for instance, is enabling an ebook market in that country, where previously, there wasn’t the technology to make this possible.
Increasing reach for publishers
As the ebook market expands in Africa, publishing partners are able to leverage Snapplify’s retail and library distribution channels to reach thousands of educational institutions already registered with Snapplify.
‘Snapplify Engage is our primary channel for sales to educational institutions, as well as for other opportunities, like long-term government deals. We also have strong retail channels, selling ebooks via our direct e-commerce stores and through our extensive independent bookseller partner network,’ explains Seabrook.
The edtech company’s Teacha! Benefits programme also provides a unique promotional opportunity for publishers, allowing them to get their content in front of over 80 000 Snapplify teachers for free. Seabrook notes: ‘Teacha! Benefits is a win-win for both teachers and publishers. Teachers get free, instant access to review copies of e-textbooks, and publishers can more easily drive awareness and adoption of content at schools.’
An accessible ebook marketplace for all
Since 2012, Snapplify has been increasing access to digital educational tools and content – and its partnerships have been a key part of that success story. Snapplify recognises that innovation in African edtech comes from collaboration – from providing easy access to broad, curriculum-aligned content, to working with local partners to better understand regional needs.
‘We realise the value of dedicated partnerships as an important way to scale, grow and explore new avenues with one shared purpose. By bringing together the best of breed in technology and content, we are creating a perfect symbiosis that empowers teachers and students to embrace digital education now and in the future,’ Seabrook added.