Believe it or not, Nigerians are not buying ebooks…
Because I’m not William Shakespeare?
Because I’m not Chimamanda Adichie or Nnedi Okoroafor or Onyeka Nwelue or Kiru Taye or Helon Habila or Myne Whitman?
No, no, no, no, no and no!
Let me tell you the reason:
Nigerians are not buying ebooks because of the oshofree mentality.
Because of the OSHOFREE mentality
Oshofree na chop-no-pay.
Oshofree is when you eat without paying.
Oshofree is when you download almost all the songs on Psquare’s, M.I’s, Olamide’s, Wizkid’s, Chidinma’s, Iceprince’ or Flavour’s album for free instead of buying the album on the streets. Chai! No wonder Naija artistes don’t depend on album sales like their American counterparts.
Oshofree is when you want to read an ebook for free instead of buying it for as low as $1. That’s TWO HUNDRED AND SOMETHING NAIRA!
Haba! Nigerians too like free things. Hehehe… Forget that I’m laughing o! It’s not funny. It’s affecting me personally. How? You may ask.
How it’s affecting King kObOkO
Ok, let me use my book “The Legend of INDIA VS NIGERIA” for example. The book is on Amazon Kindle, Lulu, Okadabooks, Smashwords and I’m even selling it independently via Gumroad. The problem’s not that its not selling o! My sales statistics show that Americans, Britons, Indians, Ghanaians and South Africans are buying it. I thank God for that. Or are the buyers actually Nigerians living in those countries? I still thank God. The problem is that only very few Nigerians living inside Nigeria are buying it. Many of them are begging me on Facebook to offer it for free so they can download and read it. Imagine!!! Nigerians eh!!!
If you doubt me, go to Okadabooks and observe the oshofree mentality of Nigerians there. Check the number of downloads for free books versus the number of downloads for books for sale. That’s when you’ll clearly see what I’m talking about.
Nigerians abroad versus Nigerians in Nigeria
You may want to be a Thomas-ekwekwe and counter my argument by saying that Chimamanda Adichie, Nnedi Okoroafor, Onyeka Nwelue, Kiru Taye, Helon Habila and Myne Whitman are all selling. Yes! I gree. Them dey sell. But I have some questions for you:
Question 1: Where are these successful Nigerian authors living? Are they based in USA, UK and India? Or are they based in Nigeria?
Question 2: Who is buying their ebooks? Is it foreigners and Nigerians in the diaspora? Or is it Nigerians in Nigeria?
What Nigerians in Nigeria prefer
The bitter truth is that Nigerians in Nigeria would rather download an ebook for free than pay as little as N100 (hundred naira is not even up to half a dollar). Don’t even argue that Nigerians are poor o! The same poor Nigerians spend money to subscribe for the data that they use for browsing and downloading. Don’t also argue that Nigerians don’t read. The same Nigerians buy and read pirated copies of Things Fall Apart, Half of a Yellow Sun, Bottled Leopard every day. They buy and read second-hand Harlequin, John Grisham, James Hadley Chase, Sidney Sheldon books every day.
Is it that Nigerians in Naija are too scared to use their ATM cards to pay for ebooks because of the fear of yahoo boys? I don’t know. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that Nigerians prefer paying for hard copies and paper books to paying for soft copies and ebooks.
It’s hard to sell the preferred hard copies and paper books through Lulu or CreateSpace because of the expensive cost of shipping it to the buyer in Nigeria. Worst of all, it’s harder to publish it locally as Nigerian-based publishing houses are quarter-to-dead, dead o’clock or half-past-dead. Hehehe…
E no easy to be a Naija-based author, wallahi. God help…
“Wait! So what’s the solution King Koboko? What do you advise us to do? What do you advise aspiring Nigerian authors to do?” I hear you interrupting me now. Relax! I’m coming. As I was saying, God help us. Say amen.
Self-publish ONLINE and OFFLINE
Stage 1: Self-publish your work online so that foreigners and Nigerians abroad can buy it.
Stage 2: Self-publish it offline too so that Nigerians in Nigeria can buy it. Self-publishing offline means that you’ll spend at least N180,000 to locally print at least 1,000 copies of your book and market it vigorously by yourself.
My brothers and sisters in the writing world, I hope I’ve been able to convince you and not to confuse you that self-publishing both online and offline is the way forward. But no vex o! Your boy King Koboko’s still saving money to carry out stage 2 of his own advice. Hehehe…
Shhh… Don’t tell anybody: I still secretly wish that an international publisher will come and offer me a publishing contract. *winks*