Kathy Knowles, of Osu Children's Library Fund, has an excellent portfolio of children's books, and her distributor in Ghana can barely make a profit, apparently, even at incredibly reduced prices for the books. He not even sure he can sell Kathy's latest books (including a lovely book about a trip to see the hippos), the way a distributor would be if sales were growing 20% a year! And this is at rock-bottom prices.
This experience echoes our own inability to interest third-parties in our (also excellent?) RWA books in Burkina Faso. People love them, but very few people want to pay, and no distributor wants to take a chance on trying to make a profit. The market simply isn't there.
I think the market happens when the diaspora starts to buy books, as happened with the Somali community. Anyone out there interested in starting a distribution company targeted to New York and other East Coast diasporas?