Booksellers make case for more vibrant book sector
By Nsikan Ikpe
Booksellers participating in the Nigeria Virtual Bookfair 2020 have made a strong case for a more vibrant book sector in the country, affirming that with a greater sense of mission and purpose a lot more would be achieved.
The booksellers, who were responding to the keynote address delivered by Mr Kevin van Hasselt, a UK-based Book Publishers and Equipment Representatives for Africa and the Caribbean, on the first of two Booksellers Days at the event, agreed with the keynote speaker that there was indeed an urgent need to enhance collaboration and professionalism in the industry as a veritable way of enhancing the sector’s overall bargaining power.
Speaking earlier, Hasselt had tasked Nigerian booksellers to work at building a most successful association and trade environment for themselves saying that with about 4000 bookshops in the country – which is about the same number of registered members of the Booksellers and Publishers Association of Germany – they had very little on the way that could stop them if they were strongly determined.
He also asked that Nigerian booksellers should watch out for the continuing expansionist activities of the online retailer, Amazon, who he opined, would very likely be moving more aggressively to take an even stronger foothold in the Nigerian market, shortly.
Some of the areas of improvement, he noted, would have to do with developing more engaging online and advocacy platforms even as he underscored the fact that he and several other booksellers in the world would be much willing to help out in any ways that they could.
Hasselt, who has been engaged with the Nigerian book trade since making a first trip to the country in June, 1975, spoke on the subject; An Effective Booksellers Association: The Needed Stimulus in the Book Supply Chain.’
Other than Mr Hasselt, other speakers that made inputs at the parley were Booksellers Association of Nigeria, BAN President, Mr Oluwadare Michael Oluwatuyi, Pastor Remi Morgan, Mr. Dapo Fisayo, Mr Wilson Moneme, Mr Kola Olaitan, Mr Lanre Adesuyi and Mr Dayo Alabi.
The session was moderated by Mr Adegbola Adesina, Deputy Managing Director of CSS Bookshops Limited.
The bookfair continues until September 7, 2020, and a second booksellers day is scheduled for Friday, September 4th.
Authors, publishers, librarians and other book sector practitioners are participating in the week-long event, which is being held for the first time in the country in its virtual form, on account of the continuing challenge posed to economic activities the world over by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.