As the 19th Nigerian International Book Fair kicks off on September 1, 2020, stakeholders in the book industry have called for the support of the federal government.
President of Nigerian Publishers Association, Mr. Gbadega Adedapo, announced, in a statement, “COVID-19 is currently presenting the book industry with enormous challenges. The industry needs great help and massive support from the federal government,” and helping the book industry’s value chain to bounce back as soon as possible “is synonymous with sustaining education and literacy.”
It is disheartening,” he said, “to know that the fate of authors, publishers, printers, booksellers, librarians (the entire book chain) hangs in the balance and depends on the timely responses received from the people, but especially from the federal government.”
Book, he said, “powers education and, as such, needs to be given immediate attention at a time like this.” Sadly, he announced the loss of over 10 billion naira to COVID-19 pandemic by the book industry.
He reiterated that the federal government should “critically and, as a matter of urgency, swiftly look into the matter of helping the industry through palliative measures. This could be done with dedicated grants and accessible funds that will aid the industry in its effort on product development and supply engagement.”
Continuing, he said, “We are crying out to the federal government not to let education slide into an unredeemable state of retardation. Since book is the bedrock of an educated society and its development. Now is the time to act on behalf of the book and save it.
“The only way to be better equipped to fight the deadly virus is for the book industry to be at its optimum capacity to produce enlightenment materials for the general public to consume. Only books can do this. But the book needs to survive in order to achieve this.”
While justifying holding this year’s book fair online by the Nigeria Book Fair Trust (NBFT) and Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), he said, “The intention is to ignite the passion of the book industry stakeholders, open up opportunities for them beyond Nigerian shores by creating an online presence, promote books and reading culture, irrespective of the threat posed by the pandemic virus by providing an online platform that will avail participants replica (if not better experience) as can be enjoyed at a regular book fair.”
Slated to be Nigeria’s first virtual book fair ever, it is a free-to-exhibit and free-to-attend event and goes with the theme: ‘Information Technology as a Panacea for the Book Industry Sustainability Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic’.
The event, which ends on September 7, 2020, promises interesting programmes, such as the book fair conference, panelists discussion, exhibition, book sales, children programs, buying and selling of rights, networking and several mind-blowing webinar sessions organised by various key stakeholders such as authors, publishers, printers, booksellers and librarians, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), among others.
The organisers are, therefore, inviting the general public, book lovers and industry players to register on www.nigeriabookfair.com.
The conference keynote address will bepresented by Huago Setzer, President of International Publishers Association, Switzerland. The event, he added, would be opened for over 10,000 participants.