NBFT: Book Digitization will Top Discussions at 18th Int’l Book Fair

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By Omolabake Fasogbon

As preparations for the 18th Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF) get underway, the organiser of the fair, Nigeria Book Fair Trust (NBFT) has announced that the programme will focus on enhancing all-inclusive book publishing in Nigeria, which is currently the practice globally.

Announcing the fair at a press conference in Lagos recently, Chairman of NBFT, Mr. Gbadega Adedapo, stated that the programme which will hold from May 6-11, 2019 will provide more opportunities and gains than previous series.

He disclosed the theme of the 2019 edition as ‘Optimizing New Technology in Book Development and Distribution for the Promotion of Book Trade in Africa’, saying that the theme is apt considering Nigeria’s poor status in electronic publishing and reading.

Adedapo explained that part of the goals of the activity is to promote the reading culture among Nigerians, especially the youths, while lamenting that the presence of social media tools has weakened reading habit in the country.

He expressed hope that reading habit can be improved if Nigeria can upgrade to electronic or digital books whereby books content can be transferred to technology devices that can be easily accessed by the tech savvy population.

“It is no gainsaying the fact that the volume of digital books we produce and distribute in Nigeria is a far cry to the ones produced in other countries, especially the advanced countries. Statistics has revealed that over 60 per cent of adult in USA alone use digital books.

“Looking inward in Africa and Nigeria, we are still very behind talking of all-inclusive publishing, whereas, books must be available in all formats. In the next few years, conventional books will be competing with digital ones; hence we must all embrace the theme of the fair so that Nigeria can graduate to another competitive level” He added that notable speakers locally and internationally will be on ground to discuss the theme, including the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Hameed Bobboyi; Managing Director of Okada Books, Okechukwu Ofili; and Executive Director of Sidmach Technologies, Mike Olajide, among others.

Also actively involved in this year’s programme, which will hold at the University of Lagos, are the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC); the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC); the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; the Senate Committee Chairman on Environment, Mrs. Remi Tinubu and the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.