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A 21st Century Nigerian Publishing Industry Needs 21st Century Global Solutions

May 02, 2019

A 21st Century Nigerian Publishing Industry Needs 21st Century Global Solutions

This presentation is a version of the StreetLib-TNPS presentation
"A 21st Century African Publishing Industry Needs 21st Century Global Solutions"
(March 2019) adjusted with a focus on Nigeria for the 19th Nigerian International Book Fair in May 2019.


May 02, 2019


  1. A 21st Century Nigerian Publishing Industry Needs 21st Century Global

    Solutions for the 19th Nigerian International Book Fair #nibfng
  2. N.B. This presentation is a version of the StreetLib-TNPS presentation

    "A 21st Century African Publishing Industry Needs 21st Century Global Solutions" (March 2019) adjusted with a focus on Nigeria for the 19th Nigerian International Book Fair in May 2019.
  3. The Global Book Market was worth $143 billion in 2016.

    The good news? 71% of that was outside the USA. Global Book Market 2016 (1) Rest of the World 71% Usa 29%
  4. The bad news? Less than 1% of that was Africa.

    Global Book Market 2016 (2) Rest of the World 99% AFRICA 1%
  5. It's not that a $1 billion Africa book market is

    unimpressive. But it's less than 1% of the global book market, despite Africa having 17% of the world's population. The good news is, both the global book market and the Africa book market are growing fast. Let's take a closer look.
  6. 2016 2025 400 300 200 100 0 Global Book Market

    Growth 2016-2025 $bn (3) 143 356
  7. Predicting book market growth is not an exact science, so

    while we cannot take these predictions as gospel, we can take them as indicative. Most of the growth will be happening outside the USA. China and India will account for much of it, as will the rest of the world. Including Africa.
  8. But digital will be the main driver of that growth.

    So where does that leave Africa?
  9. 2016 2025 1.5 1 0.5 0 Africa's book market could

    grow by 50% if we carry on as we are. 1 1.5 Africa Book Market Growth 2016-2025 $bn (4)
  10. But it's 2019, not 2009. Carrying on as we are

    while the rest of the global publishing industry embraces digital and leaves us behind is not an option. Nigeria's children desrve better. Africa's children deserve better.
  11. Here's what might happen if the African publishing industry actively

    embraced the digital opportunity
  12. 2016 2025 5 4 3 2 1 0 Africa Book

    Market Growth 2016-2025 $bn (5) 1 5 Imagine an Africa book market worth $5 billion. 500% growth!
  13. To understand why such growth is possible with digital we

    need first to understand why the Africa book market is so under-developed today. For brevity, and to distinguish it from the digital opportunity, we'll refer to the current model as the analogue model. It's not strictly scientific but will help keep the two models clear in our mind.
  14. The "analogue publishing model" is the one we all know

    and love. Beautiful printed books on paper. We all love printed books! Don't see this as an anti-print diatribe!
  15. But... Printed books are expensive to produce, expensive to distribute,

    and expensive to store. And if that's true of mature, wealthy book markets like the USA, how much more so in Nigeria and across Africa?
  16. Why is the Africa book market so under-developed? History is

    partly to blame. Colonialism and the post-colonial legacy, of course. And many missed opportunities since. But we can't rewrite history, so let's move on.
  17. Africa is massive. Truly massive. Africa is as big as

    the USA, China, India, Japan and all of Europe combined.
  18. It's such a vast continent that it's no wonder it's

    not been possible to develop a pan-African publishing industry. The cold reality is that it's easier for a publisher in Nigeria, Kenya or Benin to sell a book in the USA or France than it is to sell the same book in neighbouring Cameroon, Tanzania or Togo. Or even to different parts of the same country. But we can't change the size of Africa, so let's move on.
  19. Low literacy levels across the African continent have held back

    the publishing industry, of course. Low literacy equals low book sales. More books in schools will encourage children to read. But many schools only have text books.
  20. Very few children have books at home. Many people who

    can read do not do so. Books are expensive and the few books that are available do not excite them.
  21. But people would read more if: they were offered free

    books to get them started and hook them on reading they were offered a better choice of books they were offered affordable books they were offered books in the language they speak at home they were offered comics and graphic novels they were offered books they could listen to Under the analogue publishing model none of those are viable options at scale across Africa.
  22. But all those options are viable across Africa with the

    digital model. Digital changes everything.
  23. Digital changes everything? That's a bold statement. But true. While

    African publishers have (mostly) been looking the other way, publishers in the rest of the world have been enjoying the benefits of digital books for over a decade.
  24. Statista reports that in 2017 in the USA the trade

    ebook market alone saw 266 million sales and was worth $1.02 billion equivalent to the entire African book market. Statista's 2019 forecast for the entire US ebook market is a valuation of $5.487 billion. (7) (6)
  25. Digital library supplier Rakuten OverDrive delivers ebooks and digital audiobooks

    to consumers in the US and globally. In 2018 OverDrive handled 277 million digital book downloads. That's 750,000 every day. 185 million ebooks and 88 million audiobooks were borrowed from OverDrive libraries in 2018. (8)
  26. Tiny Singapore - population 5.6 million - was among 65

    libraries worldwide that saw over 1 million digital book downloads. In Canada - population 33 million - over 5.6 million digital books were borrowed from the Toronto library in 2018.
  27. In 2019 Storytel operates in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland,

    Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, India, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Italy, Mexico, Bulgaria amd Singapore. It will launch in Brazil and Germany shortly. Storytel expects to have over 1 million subscribers by end 2019. (9) Storytel is a digital audiobook and ebook subscription service based in Sweden.
  28. In China ebooks and online literature is big business. In

    2017 the Chinese media giant Tencent spun off its ebook arm China Literature in an IPO worth $1 billion - equivalent to the entire African book market. (10)
  29. There are countless more examples, but let's address the BIG

    problem with all this. We're talking about Africa. There's hardly anyone online here! Internet penetration is only at 35.9%! Why bother?
  30. Here's why. This is the 2018 map of submarine internet

    cables connecting Africa with the world. (11)
  31. And here's what that means.

  32. Statista forecasts the New Zealand ebook market will be worth

    $37 million in 2019. (12) New Zealand's online population? 4.2 million. (13)
  33. All these African nations have more people online than New

    Zealand. (14) Angola 7 million Cameroon 6.1 million Côte d’Ivoire 6.3 million D.R. Congo 5 million Mozambique 5.3 million Tunisia 7.9 million Zambia 7.2 million Zimbabwe 6.8 million
  34. Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Sudan (14) all have more people

    online than Sweden (15), the home of Storytel. 9.6 million 10.1 million 12.5 million 9.7 million 11.8 million
  35. Statista forecasts the Netherlands ebook market will be worth $94

    million in 2019. (16) The Netherlands has 16.3 million people online. (15) Algeria and Ethiopia both have more. (14) Algeria 21 million Ethiopia 16.4 million
  36. Statista forecasts the Australia ebook market will be worth $89

    million in 2019. (17) Australia has 21.7 million people online. (13) Here's how Morocco, Tanzania and Uganda compare. (14) Morocco 22.5 million Uganda 19 million Tanzania 23 million
  37. Statista forecasts the Canada ebook market will be worth $521

    million in 2019. (18) Canada has 33.2 million people online. (19) South Africa will soon have more people online than Canada. South Africa 31.1 million and only at 34% internet penetration. (14)
  38. Statista forecasts the Spain ebook market will be worth $135

    million in 2019. (20) Spain has 42.9 million people online. (15) Kenya 43.3 million. (14)
  39. Statista forecasts the Italy ebook market will be worth $128

    million in 2019. (21) Italy has 54.8 million people online. (15) Egypt 49.2 million. (14)
  40. Statista ebook market value forecasts for 2019 France $533 m

    (22) France has 60.4 million online Germany $294 m (23) Germany has 72.3 million online UK $820 m (24) UK has 63 million online (15)
  41. E-Learning (digital education) is one sector where some African countries

    are doing well. eKitabu in Kenya leads the way. Nigeria has nothing comparable.
  42. In South Africa e-Learning (digital education) is expected to bring

    in revenues of $490 million (NGN 176 billion) by 2023.
  43. New research by arcognizance.com forecasts a global digital books market

    in 2023 worth $35 billion (NGN 13 trillion).
  44. Which brings us to Nigeria, widely recognised as the powerhouse

    economy of the African continent. Books? Not so much. It's not that Nigeria is devoid of talented authors and prestigious publishers. Far from it. Chimamanda Adichie and Wole Soyinka are among countless world class Nigerian authors. Publishing houses like Casava Republic and Farafina are among many that have international reputations.
  45. Is Nigeria embracing the digital opportunity? Yes and no. On

    the one hand we have numerous Nigerian online stores that sell books to some degree. We have Nigeria's Okada Books, the biggest ebook store on the continent. We have Nigeria's Publiseer, Africa's foremost digital aggregator.
  46. Yet the largest of these, Okada has only 25,000 tiles

    available. "Only?" Yes, when we're talking Nigeria, a country of 200 million people, It's a great starting point, but woefully inadequate to meet the literary needs of a population of this size. That's not in anyway to denigrate the fantastic achievement of Ofili Okechukwu, rather to make the point that this is just the tip of the digital opportunity iceberg.
  47. The tip of the iceberg? Well, let's remind ourselves of

    those figures for the UK, France and Germany.
  48. Statista ebook market value forecasts for 2019 France $533 m

    (22) France has 60.4 million online Germany $294 m (23) Germany has 72.3 million online UK $820 m (24) UK has 63 million online (15)
  49. But isn't that exactly the problem? 60 million people online

    in France? 63 million in the UK? 72 million people online in Germany? Nigeria is only at 55.5% internet penetration. Africa itself is at just 35.9% internet penetration. How can Nigeria, let alone Africa, compete? Consider this: .
  50. Nigeria's 55.5% internet penetration means that, as of March 2019,

    there are over 111 million Nigerians online. That's almost 40 million more internet users than Germany! In fact Nigeria has more people online than any country in Europe - even Russia. It is the 7th largest country in the world by internet users and set to leapfrog Japan into 6th place this year.
  51. 111 million people online is a huge domestic market that

    Nigeria's publishing industry could be tapping into. That's 111 million people who could be buying digital books from Nigerian authors and publishers. Yet few publishers in Nigeria are rising to this opportunity. Let alone seeing the bigger picture of opportunity digital brings beyond the domestic market.
  52. The bigger picture? In Nigeria in the year 2000 there

    were just 200,000 Nigerians online. Today it's 111 million. In the Year 2000 there were just 4.5 million Africans online. In 2019 there are 474 million Africans online. (14)
  53. Remember earlier, we noted that it's easier for a publisher

    in Nigeria, Kenya or Benin to sell a book in the USA or France than it is to sell the same book in neighbouring Cameroon, Tanzania or Togo. Or even to different parts of the same country. With digital anyone anywhere on the African continent can buy a book from Nigeria, Kenya or Benin... or from Zambia or Mali or Ethiopia or... All they need is an internet connection, a Pan-African ebook store and... and yes, this is the big one... and the books to be available in digital format.
  54. And if you're thinking that 111 million Nigerians online and

    474 million Africans online is not incentive enough to digitise, consider that that same ebook or digital audiobook that can be made available across Nigeria and across the entirety of Africa can also be simultaneously available across the world. How many people online in the world? First let's put that 474 million Africans online in context.
  55. Incredible, but true. There are more people online in Africa

    than in Latin America, the EU or North America. And there are 160 million more people online in Africa than in the USA. (26) Africa Latin Am erica European U nion N orth Am erica U SA 500 400 300 200 100 0 474 438 433 345 312
  56. And Africa is still only at 35.9% internet penetration. Which

    means there's still plenty of room to grow. The question is, by how much?
  57. Internet take-up is closely correlated to smartphone use. (And smartphones

    are great for ebooks and digital audiobooks!) Here's how Africa's smartphone future looks.
  58. (27)

  59. Taking smartphone growth, improved telecom infrastructure and falling internet prices

    together it's reasonable to predict the growth we've seen between the year 2000-2018 will not slow any time soon. Given the close correlation of smartphone growth to date it's reasonable to assume that by 2025 we could be looking at 800 million Africans online. (28)
  60. Africa 2018 Africa 2025 800 600 400 200 0 Internet

    Users Africa 2019-2025 474m 800m
  61. Which leaves the question how many internet users worldwide could

    be accessing Nigerian digital books in 2019, and how many more might to do so in, say, 2025 or 2030? Well, the Africa, EU, Latin America and North America numbers we looked at above amount to just shy of 1.7 billion. But that's not even half the world's online population.
  62. None
  63. 4.3 million people online. That's the potential reach of digital

    publishing in 2019. And here's the likely digital reach in 2025 and in 2030.
  64. None
  65. In this brief overview we've had to leave out so

    much. No mention here of Amazon's ebook subscription service Kindle Unlimited, or Scribd (which earlier this year topped 1 million subscribers) or 24Symbols or Legimi or.... We touched on Storytel but didn't mention other audiobook services like Audible, Ubook, Booklava, Kitab Sawti, and Africa's very own AkooBooks. There are countless more.
  66. But there's much more to publishing than just trade, of

    course. Not least the education and library sectors. In both cases digitisation is in danger of outpacing publishers as publishers continue to be overly-cautious in embracing the digital opportunity unfolding. Yet both sectors present exciting new opportunities for growth.
  67. We've seen rapid advances in Nigeria's "e-Education" sector this past

    few years and we can expect much more in the next decade. This is a golden opportunity for Nigerian publishers to open up new revenue streams. The same can be said for digital libraries, where digitised public libraries, alongside university libraries, will bring new reach to Nigerian publishers, not just within Nigeria but across Africa and beyond.
  68. Nor is digital limited to text and audio. Digital comics

    are big business around the world. Then there's cookery books, photography... And there are countless new digital variants emerging that give publishers more reach, more revenue and more possibilities.
  69. Nana Gyan Apenteng, President of the Ghana Writers Association, famously

    said last year: "Of course, we would all claim that we are reading on our phones but that is largely untrue…unless reading WhatsApp messages can be described as reading." Yet in the rest of the world readers are lapping up digital books alongside WhatsApp messages and, yes, alongside print books.
  70. IT'S NOT AN EITHER / OR DEBATE. Printed books and

    comics and their digital counterparts can comfortably co-exist. And best of all, digital is language agnostic. Digital books, comics and audio can be created in all Africa's myriad and beautiful languages, and distributed to eager readers in huge cities, suburban townships and, just as easily, in the remotest villages. No minimum print runs. No printing costs. at all. No warehousing. No costly distribution to a handful of bookstores. No remainders.
  71. No minimum print runs. No printing costs at all. No

    warehousing. No costly distribution to a handful of bookstores. No remainders. Backlist permanently available for sale 24/7.
  72. Easy and virtually free potential reach to the 474 million

    Africans online today (800 million by 2025). And globally to more than 4 billion potential customers (over 5 billion by 2025 - over 7 billion by 2030) who are going online daily around the world.
  73. Digital is an opportunity not just for publishers but for

    a raft of industries that revolve around publishing. From content creators to librarians to educationalists to the creative industries like film and television. Just look at the way books are driving TV and film production globally. Digital publishing will not just benefit publishers, but will power the Nigerian and African economy,
  74. That is the Nigerian and African publishing industry's digital opportunity.

  75. This presentation by StreetLib & The New Publishing Standard is

    intended to help further the debate about the digital opportunity in African publishing in the run-up to the IPA Regional Seminar in Nairobi. It is for the benefit of all stakeholders in the Nigerian and African publishing industry. StreetLib is committed to a building a truly inclusive, global publishing industry that embraces all countries and peoples, all languages, and all publishing sectors and publishing formats.
  76. StreetLib is the first and only publishing industry entity to

    roll-out author and publishing portals for every country in Africa. StreetLib is the only publishing industry entity to offer a Pan-African and global ebook store that accepts content in all Africa's national and indigenous languages. StreetLib supports ebooks, digital audio and POD print and offers unrivalled global distribution across the retail, library and subscription sectors. StreetLib charges no up-front fees and requires no exclusivity. StreetLib looks forward to working with any and all Nigeria's and Africa's stakeholders to build a world class Nigerian and Pan-African publishing industry for the 21st century. The StreetLib Africa Project
  77. www.streetlib.com www.streetlib.com/nigeria www.streetlib.com/projectafrica/

  78. Sources 1) https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/global-book-market-valued-at-143bn/ 4) TNPS analysis 5) TNPS analysis 2)

    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-publishing-market-2018-2022-market-will-register-a- revenue-of-approx-usd-356-billion---rise-in-number-of-independent-and-self-published-authors- 300665770.html 6) https://www.statista.com/topics/1474/e-books/ 7) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/109/ebooks/united-states 8) https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/2018-750000-digital-book-downloads-day-went-uncounted- nielsen-bookscan-data-guys-bookstat-fuelling-nonsense-people-reading-less/ 3) https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/africas-book-industry-worth-1-billion-growing-6-despite-piracy- challenges/
  79. 9) https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/storytel-q4-report-subscribers-up-44-yy- streaming-sales-up-38-targets-1-1-million-subscribers-by-end-2019/ 10) https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/tencents-china-literature-ipo-the-biggest-in-a-decade/ 11) https://manypossibilities.net/african-undersea-cables/ 12) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/161/ebooks/new-zealand 13)

    https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats6.htm 14) https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm 15) https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats9.htm 16) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/144/ebooks/netherlands 17) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/107/ebooks/australia 18) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/108/ebooks/canada 19) https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm 20) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/153/ebooks/spain
  80. 21) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/141/ebooks/italy 22) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/136/ebooks/france 23) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/137/ebooks/germany 24) https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/156/ebooks/united-kingdom 25) https://www.internetworldstats.com/top20.htm

  81. Giacomo D'Angelo CEO at StreetLib www.streetlib.com [email protected] Mark Williams, Editor-in-Chief

    TNPS Director of Communication at StreetLib www.thenewpublishingstandard.com [email protected]