I’m quite positive you must have heard the phrase ‘Nigerians don’t read?’ trotting about. Or is it the more widely rumoured ‘Blacks don’t read?’ line of presumption. Maggots. What a chuffing lie! The appropriate question would be ‘Nigerians don’t read what?’
You see Nigeria is not your ordinary country! Many of you would agree with me. She defies problems, in as much as she defies solutions. One needs to be bold to say that because like every ambitious self willed woman woman, her way of doing things is left entirely to her judgment and the ‘enigmania’ of her zeigest. So, despite that her industries are fiailing, we can see that many of her authors have turned to self-publishing (a number of whom i have personally giving the go ahead) in the face of the ruinous publishing landscape ( as you might have noticed, i just can’t reiretate this enough, hoping i don’t have to cite the death Farafina Books for you to get my point ). And with that, a change in her literary landscape. A change that eats into her intellect or the awareness of her people. A change that comes as no surprise at all because readers need writers in as much writers need readers.
A country that flourishes with second hand novels and poorly written self-help books at the local markets! abi, i lie? Not forgetting the blog posts we visit. You being such an example. But did anyone see this coming? would anyone have seen this coming in the face of all this turmoil? Not us. Not the publishing industry. Not even the government!
Even more startling is that, in the face all this, who would have predicted the entrance of electronic books to change everything? Moreso, the cost of reading in a struggling Third World country like Nigeria herself. But we are, reading what we afford. What we can afford? Just think of it? are we selling educational materials or isn’t that what publishing is supposed to be? what is affordable to any country? Which draws my attention to Nigeria’s growing zeigest for digital books.
Almost every Nigerian has a self-help eBook (legally or illegally obtained is not our focus here) for every computer they have. This desire to habour alterable books, i believe, comes from the ease of access and channels of dessiminating them. I myself can’t count the number eBooks i have on my computer alone, set aside my smartphones and google drive.
So, as is the creed for the piracy, the only answer I can give is ‘when a country hungers for knowledge, it will do anything to get it.’
In the end, i have learnt to trust Nigeria in believing she knows best for herself, in much the same way i have learnt to trust myself! which is the only reason i still encourage self-publishing in the face of the fact most self-published titles turn up overly price for such a fragile economy. Unlike the cost of an eBook that’s a mere N150 when you use your Naira Mastercard!
So the statement ‘Nigerians don’t read’ is a classic fallacy. The question ‘Nigerians don’t read what?’ is the question, cause all we Nigerians need do is download Calibre for our computers or BlueFire reader for our smartphones all FoC (what we know as Free Of Charge or Awuf) and we have an endless supply of all we need to read from sites like smashwords!