The Challenges of Book Publishing In Nigeria

I remember in 2017 when my girlfriend, Jennifer (not real name), was about to publish her first book. The cost implication of editing, printing, book cover design and other publishing costs, almost forced her to abandon the project. Perhaps, you’re considering publishing a book, but this is your dilemma as well.

But did you know that publishing a book is not just the act of making a book, with an appropriate cover and a properly edited manuscript? It’s not about getting a book printed. It’s also not the moment when you click the “publish” button on a self-publishing platform. Neither is it when a commercial publisher in America or London endorses your manuscript and gives you a publishing contract.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “if book publishing is none of the above, then what the heck is it?”

Well, that’s why we are here: to help you understand what book publishing really is, and to help you overcome the challenges of book publishing in Nigeria.

First, what is publishing?

The answer is in the root of the word: the Latin word publicare means “to make public, to reveal, divulge, announce.” So, to publish a book is to transform a privately penned manuscript to be publicly available and readable.
Commercial publishing goes a step further, aiming not just to make and issue books, but to sell them to a sufficient number of buyers and readers to turn a profit.
Next, how does this impact you – affect your publishing goals, as an author, especially as a newbie author living in Nigeria?

To answer that, let’s look at some of the challenges of book publishing in Nigeria.
1) Finance: Book Publishing is capital intensive. It’s a struggle for most authors and publishers to raise money for their book project.
2) Poor reading Culture: Most people in Nigeria have a poor reading culture. The young mostly only read when they have an examination to sit for or in order to obtain a certificate. On the other hand, the older generation will hardly invest in books that are not directly related to their careers or businesses. This poor reading culture consequently inhibits the sale of books and publishing of more.
3) The Economy: The high tariff placed on imported printing materials, Value Added Tax (VAT), discourages many people from publishing their books. That’s not to mention that these increased costs have tripled in our current Covid-19 infected world.
4) Piracy: This is one demon that the government is yet to find a lasting solution to, as books are regularly pirated and resold at cheaper prices to the detriment of authors and publishers, who can barely break even from the sales of genuine copies.
5) Dearth of affordable expertise: Most players in the Nigerian publishing industry lack the requisite expertise in writing, editing, and publishing books. Some of those who have the expertise lack the finances to meet the standard demands in publishing. Others who have the expertise provide it at a cost that is prohibitively expensive, further discouraging people from working with them, and leaving so many stories untold, and so many experiences undocumented.

A wise man once said that part of the reasons there are so many problems in the world is that people always start whatever they are doing from zero. This is due to the fact that many people who take certain decisions in business, career or life, whether leading to wins or losses, do not document their stories and experiences for the forthcoming generation, or even as a reminder to themselves of how far they have come.

There are more challenges facing authors and publishers in Nigeria but let me peg it here because our joy at SW Advantage is to help you overcome the above listed and other challenges on your publishing journey.

Tell us, what are the challenges you have encountered on your book publishing journey? Share them with us in the comments section, and/or send us an email via: (Please help me insert email address), and we’ll take it from there.

The world deserves to hear your voice through your book, and we are here to make it happen for you!