I decided to check online for how to sell a hard copy book in Nigeria and it turns out someone had asked a similar question on Nairaland.
I was reading the very general (truthfully, unhelpful) comments. Then, I saw this one and stopped to laugh small…
“Just make sure the title is about HYIPs. It will sell like hot akara and Agege bread”
Just like some of you are asking now, someone asked “HYIPs? What is that?”
HYIPs are High Yield investments, aka ponzi schemes. They took time to explain and illustrate.
Another comment caused me to pause and think really hard…
“In Nigeria, definitely not bookshops. Bookshops are just a good central place to direct people to, after you’ve made your own marketing efforts…” I’ve shared a screenshot of the full comment as well.
This leads me to my “JAMB questions”.
1. Authors, what has your experience been like, selling books in Nigeria? What works? What doesn’t work?
2. Book lovers, where do you buy your books in Nigeria? In a previous poll, majority said that they prefer hard copy books to ebooks. So, where do you buy these hard copy books?
3. Bookshop owners, what has it been like? What are your recommendations for authors and book lovers, seeing that you are the people in the middle that interface with both parties?
Omolola Mary Omosebi had a very helpful response on a similar Facebook post that I put up last year. Hear her…
“Thus far, selling by word of mouth and giving copies to people to sell in their churches and to their circle of friends has been the most effective. I recently got my book on the shelves of Bible Wonderland in Lagos.
Yes, selling books in Nigeria is hard work especially if it’s not a book about gossip or fast money making ventures (I guess). People seem to like really cheap things and publishing good quality books ain’t cheap nowadays. Major reason I decided not to print my other books in Nigeria (yet) but to sell them as eBooks and make them available as prints only on Amazon where they print on demand so I don’t have to stress myself with keeping hard copies in stock.
It could be discouraging really… But we will keep encouraging ourselves.”
I hope we have a healthy conversation about the business of selling books. Let’s encourage our authors and book sellers.