Digital Library Launched to Enhance Reading Culture

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Ugo Okoye

A start-up company Bambooks, a subsidiary of iConcepts has launched what is regarded as Nigeria’s largest digital library with collection of several electronic books ranging from career books, religion, entrepreneurship, financial, politics and history, among others, designed to enhance the reading culture of Nigerians.

Speaking at the unveiling, its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ugo Okoye, said: “Bambooks offers users access to thousands of eBooks, magazines and comics from any internet connected device including mobile phones, tablets and computers.

“From romantic fiction to entrepreneurship, self-help, religious, and educational books, there’s something for every reader. Users simply go to the website or download the Bambooks mobile app from the Google Play store or App Store for free and sign up to start reading.”

Bambooks offers an affordable membership plan that gives users unlimited access to the library; with a N500 per month and an annual plan of N5,000 yearly, users can subscribe using their debit cards or bank accounts, Okoye said.

The Products Manager at Bambooks, Oluwakemi Akinmusere, said: “Nigeria has the largest mobile market in Africa with over 160 million connected lines and 100 million mobile internet users.

“With plans to expand across Africa, Bambooks is eyeing the 450 million subscriber base which is expected to grow at 5 per cent CAGR over the next few years. The penetration rate is forecast to reach 50 per cent by the end of 2023 and 52 per cent by 2025.”

The Head of Content Aggregation Manager, Seun Ashaka, said: “Information is available to anyone that has access to the internet and mobile phones have become so smart you can do almost anything with them.

“We estimate the publishing industry across sub-Saharan Africa to exceed a billion dollars in annual revenues by the end of 2018 and expect authors on our platform to earn a significant share of the market.”

It is a well-known fact that distribution of physical books is a major challenge in Nigeria with little or no bookstores and libraries across major cities in the country. These infrastructure problems lead to low literacy levels and poor reading habits as many Nigerians don’t have the resources to travel long distances or buy physical books at prices way above their purchasing power.

Scarcity of books also fuels the increasing trends of piracy with annual revenue losses to legitimate content owners, running to the hundreds of millions of naira. Therefore, Bambooks intends to solve all these problems through their digital publishing platform and hopes to inspire a new generation of writers and content creators, Ashaka said.

“Bambooks will not only entertain and educate people but also improve literacy levels, break the cycle of poverty and create a better future for Nigerians,” Okoye said.