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African print culture has not been widely studied from a historical perspective. Many studies focus on the present, without interrogating the historical developments that led to the present situation. We do find information available on what has been published over time, but little attention has been paid to the material forms of texts, their distribution, marketing, readership, or impact. Much earlier work is also largely descriptive. It is only recently—in the past ten years or so—that theoretical models of book history have begun to influence studies in this field. This essay is the first attempt to organize book historical studies in an African context. While this survey cannot be considered comprehensive, given the scope of the continent and its research, it presents a sampling of the most significant work and highlights trends.