Nigeria’s pioneer digital publishing and bookselling platform, Okada Books, will close on November 30, 2023, citing rough macroeconomic conditions. Okechukwu Ofili, the company’s CEO, stated on social media platform X, “We explored various avenues to keep our virtual bookshelves alive, but unfortunately, the challenges we face are insurmountable.
Nigerian writer Okechukwu Ofili launched Okada Books in 2013 with the goal of simplifying the distribution and sale of books in Nigeria. Given the challenges Nigerian writers face in obtaining publishing contracts and the expense of self-publishing, Okada Books aimed to make self-publishing accessible while connecting writers with those willing to pay for their work.
Okada Books is Closing its Doors After a Decade
Authors could directly share their books with readers and earn from their work through Okada Books’ Android application and online platform. The website states that Okada Books took a 30% commission on each sale. The pricing of the average book on the platform ranged from N250 to N500, with the possibility of higher prices depending on the author’s choice.
Okada Books established a market where none existed, so witnessing their shutdown is disheartening. However, Ruth Zakari, editor-in-chief at Zikoko, expressed anticipation for what will fill this gap.
Okada Books – From Digital Publishing Pioneer to Shutdown
Google selected Okada Books as one of the 12 startups for Launchpad Accelerator Africa in 2017. The digital publisher boasted a library of over 40,000 original books and 400,000 registered readers. With the cessation of its operations, writers who depend on the platform for monetizing their works will now need to seek alternatives.
The shutdown occurs during an unstable macroeconomic market for African startups. TechCabal reported last week that Zazuu, the fintech marketplace for cross-border payment networks in Africa, which secured over $2 million from investors, closed down due to a failure to secure additional funding.
In the wake of Okada Books’ shutdown, the repercussions extend beyond its impact on authors, delving into the intricate dynamics of the market and shedding light on the challenges faced by startups in the African landscape. Explore the journey from pioneering digital publishing to closure, and the broader implications for the ever-evolving startup ecosystem.
As we reflect on Okada Books’ shutdown, it unravels a narrative that goes beyond the immediate impact on authors. The intricate dynamics of the market reveal challenges faced by startups in the African landscape, offering insights into the delicate balance between innovation and sustainability. Examining the journey from pioneering digital publishing to closure opens a window into the evolving nature of the startup ecosystem, emphasizing the need for adaptability and resilience in the face of industry shifts and economic uncertainties.