By Henry Akubuiro
The first e-directory of booksellers in the country has been unveiled by the Booksellers Association of Nigeria. Launched virtually last week by the President of BAN, Dare Oluwatuyi, stakeholders in the Nigerian book industry have greeted it as a step in the right direction.
Jointly published by Booksellers Association and CSS Bookshop the 245-page The Nigerian Book Directory 2021 is edited by Dare Oluwatuyi and Richard Mammah, aimed at connecting with the teeming booksellers in the country and bringing them into “their natural habitat as fully performing and very active members of the Booksellers Association of Nigeria,” as Oluwatuyi stated in his address of welcome.
The second reason for the production of the e-edition of The Nigerian Book Directory, he said, was based on professional security: “We were also very conscious of the fact that both for our professional security and continuing leverage among other factors, we needed to have a directory of this nature that we are presenting today.
“It is whispered now and again that some booksellers may be involved in the selling of pirated books. Rather than allow such insinuations weigh us down, we decided to take the gauntlet and go out there to find and bring all booksellers into the country into the fold of BAN.
“You will agree with me that the best way to solve a problem, perceived or otherwise, is by getting all of the parties together. This Directory then is the first step. The next one is to revive and establish state chapters of BAN that would very closely follow up on the task of bringing everybody in.”
The book was reviewed by author and an editor with The Nation, Olayinka Oyigbile, PhD, who said the e-directory was in tandem with the demands of the new technology sweeping through the media and book industries. Oyigbile affirmed that this latest effort “has pushed the envelope further, because it is more comprehensive and detailed. It is not a mean task to embark on this kind of exercise in Nigeria where collection and gathering of data is a herculean task.”
The Booksellers Association of Nigeria, he added, had set in motion the need for associations and groups to embark on such ventures to help place information at the tip of our fingers. Providing a peek into the book, Oyigbile noted that the directory captured all the 36 states of Nigeria and the federal capital territory, with Lagos generating 705 documented booksellers and Abuja 286.
“Other interesting things that readers would find in this compendium are lists of universities in the country,” he hinted, while also recommending it as an impressive directory that “is going to be useful to researchers, writers, tourists and all.”
In his remarks, the DG, Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. John Asein, said the book “will help to raise the standard of book trade in Nigeria and provide a credible source of information for publishers, schools, libraries, members of the public and those that will require the services of a bookseller.”
He was optimistic it would also provide the needed information and provide access to Nigerian books from outside the country. Above all, “This should also be a redefining moment for the stakeholders in the way we carry on book business in Nigeria.”
Dr Wale Okediran, President, Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), who spoke on behalf of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), lauded BAN for the publication, adding that “the NPA, more than ever before, is committed in strengthening unity, cooperation and togetherness between and among all the partners in the book chain, as this launch is solidly etched in gold, diamond and marbles, and will remain sign posts for future opportunities in the book industry.”