African nostalgia can be painfully myopic sometimes. I mean, you see Europeans, Asians and Americans talking about their history as far back as the 15th century, with well documented facts, figures and sometimes, pictures – and you just stand there, chanting “our history is rich” out of thin air. Truthfully, whenever anyone talks about “African history”, in vivid terms, what they really mean is the late 1800’s and the early/ mid 1900’s.
So Why make Books?
Enter, Okechukwu Ofili – founder of OkadaBooks. According to him, for a country of about 200 million people, Nigeria has only around 12 major publishing houses, and about 33 serviceable bookstores where they distribute their content to. Imagine the kind of hustle it would be, just to get one book published and distributed nation wide.
That’s why Mr. Ofili started Okadabooks, a uniquely Nigerian ebook distribution platform. As a published writer himself, the bottlenecks of getting published, distributed or remunerated that he had to squeeze through, have become the basic tenets of what Okadabooks is servicing today.
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
Basically, Okadabooks is an app that enables writers to leapfrog the traditional publishers, to write, publish their books, and get paid, all on a mobile device. The idea behind the name, Okadabooks, is from the fact that “Okadas”, which are commercial motorcycles, are able to meander around traffic where cars can’t even move. Basically, a metaphorical way of saying, we can help you get around these established publishers and achieve better results.
Using OkadaBooks App
The app itself is very easy to use. It can be downloaded on almost any mobile platform (Google Play, iOS, windows, Blackberry and Amazon). The App can also be used on web browser at okadabooks.com. After downloading and signing up, turning your blog/ manuscript into a book is as easy as ABC. Just go to the publish segment, copy + paste or upload your manuscript, put a price and voila!
You’re published. All this for 30% on each book.
Buying books on the app is also very easy. You can use your debit (bank) and credit cards, paga, diamond bank transfer and, wait for it…an MTN/ Etisalat recharge card. I honestly feel like this could be a high selling point as people usually have problems sorting payment out through the internet.
This app is a winner. With over 16k books, 185k users and 1 million downloads so far – and from projections, the numbers are expected to double next year – Mr. Ofili and his team have managed to lay to rest the already dead narrative that says that Nigerians don’t read.
With this app, much more than ever, the lines that separate storytellers and book makers are being blurred. Anyone can tell their story however they want on this platform. The industrial revolution passed us, but the Tech revolution will not.
Okadabooks, in making publishing easier, has become an inadvertent pen with which our great storytellers will preserve our past, compute the present, and script the future