OKADA BOOKS: THE FUTURE OF E-PUBLISHING IN NIGERIA

okadabooks

I went through Okadabooks site yesterday and read everything readable about the services. I must confess I was really impressed. I started having ideas concerning my forthcoming book, Young, Wild, Free. I was even tempted to abandon the idea of traditionally publishing my book and instead jump onto the Okadabooks train. I really believe in the project and can’t wait to join their team of published authors. So I decided to share what I discovered about them with you.
As much as I want to publish my book Young, Wild, Free to solve a grave societal problem (it provides answers to pertinent questions affecting young people – questions which the society tag as too “absurd” or odd to discuss in social circles e.g homosexuality, masturbation, porn, sex et al. The book proffers unorthodox and practical insights and solutions thereto) I will be a hypocrite to deny that I haven’t considered the cost of publishing or the prospects of returns on investment the book may have.

ENTER OKADABOOKS
How it works:

An author registers, uploads an epub version of his book and set the price of his book. A user of the Okadabooks app choses a book, sends an SMS, and the book gets downloaded onto his phone. Simple.
The marketing structure/platform of Okadabooks for an author is what really fascinates me. At Okadabooks, authors have been advised to set the price of their books at N100. According to Okadabooks, the author can make a ‘royalty’ of N20 for each copy of a book sold at N100. And oh! 70% of the proceeds go to the network providers (Okadabooks say they are working on this) and I believe the remaining 10% goes to Okadabooks as commission. This may sound discouraging to a potential author, but there is a bright side.

THE NIGERIAN MOBILE MARKET
Nigeria mobile market currently has an active user base of over 100 million people (I researched it. It is actually between 100 million – 110 million). While this is not a reflection of how many phones are used in Nigeria (no thanks to dual sim phones) or even how many of them are Androids (Okadabooks only work on/with androids. Sigh), the truth is that there is a growing usage of and demand for android/smart phones/tablets in Nigeria. (Yayy! The future really looks smart.)
So the idea is this: Out of over 100 million active subscribers, if an author could at least target to sell to just 1% of that (about one million users)…

HOW TO SELL TO ONE MILLION SUBSCRIBERS
Don’t be perturbed about how to hit that target. It is quite simpler than you think. Of course to do this, the author must take his book as his business and invest hugely in both online and offline adverts. The author must forego the idea of traditionally publishing his book and instead invest his money in AGGRESSIVELY advertising his Okadabooks-bound book. Imagine if one should aggressively invest N200, 000 into TV, radio, newspaper, books trailers, mini-billboards, magazines and online adverts and ends up selling just 1 million copies of his book on okadabooks, with a ‘royalty’ of N20 per sale (if price is set at N100), the author should be smiling home with N20 million.
Even if the author’s target is to make just N1 million from his book, he will only need to sell to 50,000 people. Of course, he wouldn’t even need to spend N200,000 on publicity.
Apart from earning the author a huge return on investment, okadabooks is a platform for wide publicity of an author at little or no cost (since the author isn’t paying to use the service. WHAT THE PLEASURABLE HECK!)
However, despite the huge benefits of using okada books, it is not free of shortcomings.

THE SINS OF OKADABOOKS
The major shortcoming of the service is that it is only currently available on androids. The implication of this is that our BlackBerry sisters, iPhone brothers and other siblings of far lesser phones (Nokia 3310-esque. Hello?) are left out of the fun. I have no stats, but common sense tells me of the current over 100 million active lines in Nigeria, over 90% of those are inserted in non-android devices (welcome Nokia 3310 and the like. Ok. Maybe not 3310, but you get my drift.) According to a November 2012 report on NairaRains, Nigeria currently has 5 million smart phone users. And that number is expected to rise to 25 million in 2016. Of the current five million users, 2.5 million use Blackberry. Infact Blackberry has been touted as Nigeria’s number one smart phone. Given this rough stats and potential, it therefore beats my imagination to learn that Okada books is only on Android devices.
Another point of note (I wouldn’t tag this a short-coming) is that there is no information on Okadabooks site on how an author who uses the service gets paid. I mean the actual process of receiving your money for books sold. This is maybe, one minute, but nonetheless, important point that shouldn’t be missing on the site. An author who visits the site for the first time wants to know straight-away how he will get paid.
One other disservice Okadabooks is doing itself (this time around) is that it is not blowing just enough trumpets. A service as great as this should be everywhere! Writers and readers alike need to know there’s a gold mine out there. A renowned marketer once said, “people need to see a (new) product (advert) atleast ten times before they patronise it.” I had heard of Okadabooks one way or another prior to yesterday, but via VERY “subtle” means.
For some reason, I just happened to stumble on the site on my own yesterday and BOY! Did I love what I read! I think Okadabooks need to step up its game and put itself in our noses!

WHY I WILL PATRONISE OKADABOOKS
My forthcoming book Young, Wild, Free is targeted at the youth demography. It is a book for young people. While writing the book, I had ideas on how to distribute it to a larger number of readers for free; this was because I was not writing the book to make money; I was writing because the issues canvassed therein were/are so close to my heart. It hurts to see young people ignorantly search for answers to serious life issues in the wrong places. I have been a victim. And I wasn’t ready to let another youth join me.
I even considered partnering with a corporate body to publish my book and distribute it free to young people in schools, churches,eatries, camps, on the streets and wherever possible.

With Okadabooks, I think I can still achieve this dream, though with little cost on the part of my readers. The youths account for the highest users of smart phones in Nigeria. And with my Okadabooks-bound book set to be fixed at the ridiculously cheap price of just N100, affordability wouldn’t be an issue for them.

WHY YOU SHOULD PATRONISE OKADABOOKS
Okadabooks may still be at its early stages, but it is a project with very bright future. If people had seen the potential of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, more people would have jumped onto the Facebook investment train long ago. Currently, Okadabooks has seasoned authors like HaroldWrites ,Okechukwu Ofili, Atilola Moronfolu etc

Whew! Having said everything sayable about Okadabooks, I hope with these few points of mine, I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that Okadabooks is the future of e-publishing! Thank you for taking time out to read my cacophonous ramblings.

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30 thoughts on “OKADA BOOKS: THE FUTURE OF E-PUBLISHING IN NIGERIA

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  2. OLusegun Femi Momoh says:

    This is incredibly fantastic, i would have sworn nothing of this ever existed. I do have short stays in Lagos but based in Abuja. i heard about okadabooks about 1 hour ago on a radio station here in Lagos and out of curiosity decided to check it out and “WAOOO” see the fantastic world i stumbled into. i must get onboard to particularly see how all the unpublished written poems and short stories of mine that has gathered massive dust can be given some financial value. Glad i followed my inner voice.

  3. Nnenna Ijeoma Ubah says:

    I just wish I understand more about uploading and all that. Its still fuzzy. Can someone without upload without a cover page?

    • Hello Nnena, I’m not sure one can upload without a cover page. It’s been a while I uploaded stuff there so I can’t really say the current ‘modus operandi’. I’ll try to upload stuff and give you a feedback

  4. This is a good innovation that all authors should encourage.

    Smashwords, amazon, lulu, nooks and barnes and all the other ebook stores started like this.

  5. i am such a big fan of Okadabooks, would love to publish my book on it and im telling everyone i know has an android device about it, and of course love, love, love, Okechukwu Ofili!

  6. wow…thanks Harold for this piece. Just read it now and the comments are on point, I will definitely implement the payment question now, as in how do authors get paid. I will update it on the site.

    Regarding the other concern about spread, We are currently on Android only because Android is the easiest phone to design apps with. OUr goal has always been to expand to BB but all that was put to a halt when BB announced that BBM will be coming to Android phones, coupled with the fact that a BB app development is very hard and expensive we are choosing to wait it out and see how the Nigerian market reacts to Android phones with bbm. Our goal is to definitely expand and we will keep pushing and pushing for that, but we want to do our expansion intelligently.

    Lastly, Okadabooks is going to start full publicity in a weeks time. We currently only have a beta version out that has several bugs and we needed to fix that before going all out with publicity.

    PS: We would love love to have Seun Odukoya’s book on the app =D

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