Okada Books, Nigeria’s pioneer digital publishing and bookselling platform, will shut down on November 30, 2023, citing rough macroeconomic conditions. “We explored various avenues to keep our virtual bookshelves alive but, unfortunately, the challenges we face are insurmountable,” said Okechukwu Ofili, the company’s CEO, in a statement shared on social media platform X.
Okada Books was launched by Nigerian writer Okechukwu Ofili in 2013 “to simplify distributing and selling books in Nigeria.” For Nigerian writers, getting publishing contracts has always been tough and self-publishing is also expensive. Okada Books was built on making self-publishing easy while connecting writers to people who would pay for their work.
With its Android application and online platform, authors could share their books directly with readers and profit from their work. According to its website, Okada Books took a 30% commission on every sale. The average book on the platform cost between N250 – N500, but pricing could be higher depending on the author’s choice.
“Okada Books created a market where none existed, so it’s quite sad to see them shut down. But I am looking forward to what fills this gap,” Ruth Zakari, editor-in-chief at Zikoko, told TechCabal.
Okada Books was among 12 startups selected for Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa in 2017. The digital publisher claimed to house a library of over 40,000 original books and 400,000 registered readers. Now that it is pulling the plug on its operations, writers who rely on the platform to monetise their works would be forced to find alternatives.
The shutdown comes amid a shaky macroeconomic market for African startups. Last week, TechCabal reported that Zazuu, the fintech marketplace for cross-border payment networks in Africa that raised over $2 million from investors, shut down after failing to raise funding.
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