FIVE key associations in Nigeria’s book industry have hailed the contributions of books to knowledge systems and national development.
In a statement to mark the 2020 World Book Day with the theme ‘READ, Grow Wings and Travel’, five of the associations highlighted the positive impact of books on the economy, education, and personal development. They also noted its calming and instructive role in this crisis period where most countries are on lockdown to curtail the spread of the virus.
“Books have enabled us to learn how to develop our skills and hone it further, relate with one another peaceably as well as open our mind to converting initiative into creativity and inventions that make the world a better place to live” began the statement.
President, Nigerian Publishers Association and Chair, Nigeria Book Fair Trust, Gbadega Adedapo; immediate past President, Association of Nigerian Authors, Denja Abdullahi, and President, Booksellers Association of Nigerian, Dare Oluwatuyi jointly signed the statement. Other signatories were President, Nigerian Library Association, Professor Innocent Ekoja and President, Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria, Malomo Olugbemi.
Further highlighting the import of books, they noted that “knowledge and skills in all sectors such as education, health, environment, water, energy, industry, gender equality, peace and security, and reviving the economy are paramount at this moment; which can only be achieved with the collective influence of the book industry.”
They added that despite being unable to celebrate the day like they usually did with activities because of COVID-19, they remained upbeat because of their utility to Nigerians. “We, the book industry players in Nigeria are not just celebrating books; our excitement is embedded in the fact that we are great contributors to ensuring the availability of books to the masses. The author writes and prepares the manuscripts; the manuscripts get edited, illustration is done and packaged by publishers to make a book which in turn is converted to readable physical and electronic formats for onward availability to end-users through the booksellers. It is indeed a great time to celebrate everything about books, not leaving out the brains behind its production and availability.”
They didn’t fail to acknowledge the other players in the ecosystem for their diligent and tireless efforts to keep producing books in the face of different challenges. “How do we thank Authors, Publishers, Illustrators, Printers, Booksellers and Librarians tirelessly working together to ensure books reach the readers or how else do we appreciate those who ensured the copyright of those books are well protected to enable industry investors to have their return on investment,” they noted.
The associations appreciated readers for their continuous patronage, saying “Many thanks to lovers of books who after all, encourages its further production by purchasing and improving their lives. Beyond books, we celebrate the readers who have defied all temptations to get swayed by the dying reading culture.”
They urged all lovers of books and Nigerians to stay safe by obeying all physical and social distancing law to defeat COVID-19 while assuring that humanity would overcome. “We urge you to please stay home and stay safe reading books. We shall soon get over the current COVID-19 pandemic. If there’s a way to make the most of the moment, then it is by studying and reading books.”
The associations also disclosed their efforts at making books available despite challenges. “Our industry keeps making frantic efforts to keep abreast of the current book demands, exploring every possible means to further meet the demands of book readers in concordant with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, as it concerns inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
They also revealed that COVID-19 had adversely affected the industry and that they needed government support in weathering the storm. “The current pandemic has dealt a huge blow on the industry, and we need Government’s support to get over the negative impact on our activities as we gasp for oxygen to survive. On this note, we urge the Government to consider the book industry in its economic response strategies,” they pleaded.
The World Book is celebrated annually on April 23 to promote the enjoyment of books and reading.
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