April 5, 2006
Here is a picture of today's Times, seconds after I finished flicking through it during a coffee break in the UN compound in Addis Ababa this morning.
I didn't get it off a friend just flown in from the UK. I didn't pay DHL to speed it to my doorstep. I bought it in a bookshop ... in Addis.
If you don't live here you won't realise just what an exciting statement that is. Up until yesterday, the most up-to-date British newspapers in town were the week-old copies of the Independent stacked up in the British Council café. People with very good contacts in the British Embassy or DFID could occasionally get their hands on a copy of the Guardian that was just three days out of date. But the best that the rest of us could do was to call early on someone who had just flown in to Bole airport and rifle through their hand luggage.
Yesterday, however, everything changed. BookWorld - the best, really the only book chain in the capital - started selling same-day print-outs of most of the main European and US titles. In many ways they're better then the originals. Whiter, cleaner paper. Slightly bigger print. On the downside, the supplements, including The Times' Section 2, are missing - no daily Sudoku or UK TV listings (it's always good to know what you are missing). And at just under 40 birr a copy (£2.64 as opposed to the current UK cover price of 60p), it's only ever going to be a weekly treat at best.
Posted by aheavens at April 5, 2006 12:06 PM