Feelers are beginning to emerge as to what would be the thrust of engagement of the Booksellers Association of Nigeria, BAN as its members congregate at the 21st edition of the annual Nigerian International Book Fair, NIBF, this week.
The fair which has the broad theme Copyright and Sustainable Development in the Book Ecosystem: The Way Forward, and runs from Thursday through Saturday, May 12-14, would take place at the Harbour Point Events Centre, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
A statement from the Executive of the nation’s umbrella body of booksellers has disclosed that the BAN session at the fair, which has the theme, Repositioning Bookselling in Nigeria: A Call to greater action’ would hold on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
Mr Steve Olayinka, CEO, Fuller Yield Ventures is the Keynote Speaker, alongside a multi-continent panel of discussants that comprises Mrs Susan Eklow, CEO, Oakland Books and Library Consultancy, Sweden; Ms. Lily Nyariki of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa and Mr Richard Mammah of The Difference Newspaper.
The session which has BAN President, Mr Dare Oluwatuyi as Chief Host, would be chaired by Mr Dayo Alabi, pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Book Fair Trust while Dr Kolade Mosuro, Chairman, The Booksellers Limited; Dr Cyril Anioke, CEO, Pens and Voices and President, Nigerian Publishers Association; Pastor Remi Morgan, CEO, Laterna Ventures Limited and Mr Lanre Adesuyi, CEO, Havilah Group of Companies are Special Guests of Honour.
For its own offering, Nigeria’s oldest surviving bookseller, the iconic Church and Schools Supplies, CSS Bookshops Limited has also announced that it is coming to the fair with a bumper package. In a chat with its Deputy Managing Director, Mr Adegbola Adesina, he affirmed that the organisation’s participation was in continuation of a trend that had begun since the commencement of the fair series.
‘We are fully ready for the fair. CSS Bookshops Limited has continued to be very active in the story of the fair and this year would not be any different. We are ready and poised to participate and support all of the processes, more so when our own MD is currently serving not only as President of one of the constituent bodies of the umbrella Nigerian Book Fair Trust, the Booksellers Association of Nigeria, but also as Chairman of the Fair Management and Awards Committee, FMAC.’
Asked to shed more light on the specific offerings that industry players and members of the public can expect from CSS at this year’s edition, Adesina said:
‘I can point you to our Young Readers and Graded Readers series. We have found them to be quite popular over the years. Many people warm up to them readily on account of the fact that they are affordable, accessible and also cross-cutting in that being general readers trade texts, they are not restricted to specific times and seasons like is the case with say, curriculum books. Also, as representatives of global publishers like McGraw Hill, Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press, we will be showcasing new offerings from our partners. So there is indeed a lot on offer.
Even beyond these, Adesina sees the CSS involvement as most epochal. ‘You know, we are a heritage organisation. We have been here since 1869 and have over the years come to be established as a one-stop shop in the book’s ecosystem as we run bookselling, publishing and printing operations. We are therefore concerned with our brand; with how the public and our stakeholders see us and respond to our brand, so fairs like this are a great opportunity for us to listen. So we encourage visitors to our stand to come with all the questions that they have for us. We will give them the answers that we have.’