The Nigerian Book Industry: Counting Our Blessings

by Folarin Olaniyi

In 2008, in some couple of days, that would be ten years, I started taking interest in the publishing industry. I googled ‘Publishing Companies in Nigeria’ but all I saw was a few notable ones like David Oyedepo’s Dominion Publishing and the likes of it’s foreign counterparts who were only after acquiring the country’s oil money than discovering its new voices.

These Vanity publishing houses charged heavily in dollars, with the promise of raking a lot more of that in the final sales of the book

I had written a manual on how Celebrities, Nigerian celebrities, who then were really battling with PR shallow mindedness could abate scandals and I thought it wise to key into these and make some book sales. But I needed a Publisher, a good Nigerian Publisher who would invest their time and money in producing this creative piece of mine. I was based in Ondo state and as highly educated as the people of Ondo were there were only few printers worth their salt. And they would definitely ask for money. Plenty money.

So I went on the internet and browsed but could only find a few Nigerian Publishers whose websites said nothing about considering manuscripts for publication. Like Dominion then had no functional and Sam Adeyemi’s Publishers only had his books displayed and some of its web pages were inactive.

Fast forward to five years later, so many Nigerian publishers have taken their rightful

Space in the web space offering Nigerian authors hope for their brain children. Kachifo Limited, owners of Farafina books and several other imprints has launched the career of several Nigerian authors since its inception.

Even though publishing in Nigeria still remains, sadly, an elitist affair, Bibi Bakare’s Cassava Republic has extended its offices to the United Kingdom, selling and buying rights, playing the necessary decent politics needed for the Nigerian voices to become more globally commercial and acceptable.

We should count our blessings, one by one, in the Publishing organs rising against all odds of expensive printing materials, untrained publishing staffs, corrupt Nigerian Custom officials, insensitive government policies,  to bring a ray of hope to the publishing industry.

The hope of the industry is these people who will continue to globalize our stories and open the country’s literary market to the world’s patronage.

The hope of the book industry is in the likes of      the resilient Kachifo, the innovative Cassava Republic, genuinely creative Parresia and market spaces like BookRepublicng, Okada books, Roving Heights, Amab et al.

The hope of the industry is in the continuous celebration of its people. It is in the days we count our blessings, one by one.

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