In a sobering announcement, Nigeria’s pioneering digital publishing and bookselling platform, Okadabooks, has declared its decision to cease operations, with a scheduled shutdown date of November 30, 2023.
The company cites the formidable challenges posed by the current macroeconomic conditions as the primary reason for this unfortunate development. Okechukwu Ofili, the CEO of Okadabooks, conveyed the profound challenges in a statement shared on the social media platform X.
How Okadabooks was founded
Launched in 2013 by Nigerian writer Okechukwu Ofili, Okadabooks embarked on a mission “to simplify distributing and selling books in Nigeria.” For Nigerian authors, securing publishing contracts has always been daunting, and self-publishing comes with its financial burdens. Okada Books was founded on the principle of making self-publishing more accessible while connecting writers with readers willing to support their literary endeavors.
Through its Android application and online platform, Okadabooks empowered authors to share their literary creations directly with readers and profit from their work. According to the company’s website, Okada Books took a 30% commission on every sale. Books on the platform were typically priced between N250 and N500, although pricing could vary depending on the author’s choice.
Ruth Zakari, Editor-in-Chief at Zikoko, expressed her sentiment, saying, “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,” highlighting the platform’s significant impact on Nigeria’s literary landscape.
Okadabooks had garnered recognition as one of the 12 startups selected for Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa in 2017. The digital publisher claimed to host a library of over 40,000 original books and boasted a community of 400,000 registered readers. With the platform now facing a shutdown, writers who relied on Okada Books to monetize their literary works will need to seek alternative avenues.
The shutdown of Okadabooks announcement comes amidst a challenging macroeconomic environment for African startups. Just last week, there was a closure of Zazuu, a fintech marketplace for cross-border payment networks in Africa, despite having raised over $2 million in investments, signaling the difficulties startups encounter in securing funding in the current economic climate.
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