Stakeholders in Nigeria’s book industry have resolved to encourage greater collaboration and networking among players in the books ecosystem as part of a drive for a more seamless books sector and to better facilitate joint advocacy in the overall interest of all players.
This was one of the resolutions made by players in the industry after a session of Book Publishers Forum at the 23rd Lagos Book and Arts Festival, LABAF, held on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
The stakeholders in the resolutions which were contained in a communique jointly signed by Jahman Anikulapo, Chairman of the Committee for Relevant Art; Mr. Gbadega Adedapo of Nigerian Book Fair Trust; Chief (Hon.) Uchenna Cyril Anioke, President of Nigerian Publishers Association; Dare Oluwatuyi; President of Booksellers Association of Nigeria; Dr Nkem Osuigwe, of the African Libraries and Information Associations and Institutions and Mr. Richard Mammah, President of Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, also tasked industry players to be fully ready to raise their voices and make their activities more visible for all to see through enhanced public awareness and sensitization.
They also decided that it had become necessary to remind government of its role in the continued nurturing and development of the book sector, “beginning with the coming into effect of a National Book Policy within the shortest possible time.”
Also among the resolutions reached at the end of the session was to encourage the attachment of functional and viable book clubs to all libraries in the country, and to encourage governments across board, and particularly at the local government area level, to establish, maintain, staff and furnish at least one community library per LGA, whose book stock must be renewed and updated annually.
The stakeholders noted that going forward, “libraries should be seen and regarded as more than ‘houses of books,’ but even more appropriately as ‘living community houses and centres of ideas and culture’ where unfettered dissemination and transmission of information is maximally encouraged and takes place.”
According to them, government, as well as stakeholders in the book trade, should pay even greater regard to factors of ease of availability and affordability of books as a way of engendering improved readership patronage.
“That in a practical sense, stakeholders should do more to facilitate the coming into being of at least one ‘National Books Distribution Company’ as a practical vehicle for lowering distribution and marketing costs within the next three years,” the communique read.
“That Publishers must take advantage of the Information Technology tools prevalent amongst the youths nowadays, to package their contents for readers across various formats (audio books, e-book, V-book, braille etc) to encourage and promote reading amongst the youths
“That the respective associations in the book trade should continue with their ongoing engagements in respect of the restoration of the traditional book chain and invest more resources in order that we may be able to better guarantee the immediate and long-term sustainability of the books ecosystem in Nigeria.
“The stakeholders were drawn from, among others, the Committee for Relevant Art, the Nigerian Book Fair Trust, the Nigerian Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association of Nigeria, the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions, and the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria.
The session themed ‘Getting books to readers across the country and the Role of Library and Resource Centres in Getting Books to Readers,’ witnessed presentations by Mr. Dare Oluwatuyi, Chief (Hon.) Uchenna Cyril Anioke, Dr Nkem Osuigwe, Mr. Gbadega Adedapo, Mr Dotun Eyinade, Iquo DianaAbasi, Farida Ladipo-Ajayi, Princess Irede Abumere, Mrs Funmi Ilori, Amara Chimeka, Rufus Onaopemipo and Ademola Adefolami, among others.
The session was moderated by Mr Richard Mammah, President, Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, NBRP and coordinated by Segun Aribisala on behalf of CORA and sponsored by Quramo Publishing.