…says best way to spend lock down is to read
By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor
The Nigerian Book Industry, marking the World Book Day amid the Coronavirus pandemic, has urged Nigerians and the entire world to use the opportunity offered by the current sit-at-home guideline to read books and stay safe.
The advice was contained in a press statement signed and made available to the media on April 23, 2020 by leaders of various organisations in the industry comprising Malomo Olugbemi, Innocent Ekoja, Gbadega Adedapo, Denja Abdullahi and Dare Oluwatuyi. “If there’s a way to make the most of the moment, then it is by studying and reading books,” the statement read.
They also urged parents to become extempore “educators with integrated engagement to guide the children and their wards through books” in this period. “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.”
The industry leaders further said the current pandemic has dealt a huge blow on the industry. “We therefore 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. Soon, we shall get over this.”
Earlier on the release, the leaders had said, “In the face of global challenges, and especially the raging COVID-19 pandemic, we recognise and celebrate today being 2020 World Book day. Books have offered our nation great opportunity with its positive impact being felt in all ramifications from the development of literacy to growth in education, contribution to the nation’s GDP, instilling peace into mankind, personal development, engaging all and sundry even at a solitary time such as this.
“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. More so, 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.
“Today, 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 done and packaged by publishers to make a book which in turn is converted to readable formats (electronic and hard copies) for onward availability to end-users through the booksellers and get the book shelved for easy access and archiving.
“It is indeed a great time to celebrate everything about books not leaving out the brains behind its production and availability. 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? It is obvious that in whatever form the book comes, it shines light into the darkest part that is seemingly incomprehensible. Many thanks to lovers of books who after all, encourage further production by purchasing and improving their lives.
Beyond books, we also celebrate the readers who have defied all temptations to get swayed by the dying reading culture. At a time like this, we care for the safety of all; book lovers and readers in Nigeria and beyond, as we urge you to please stay home and stay safe reading books. We shall soon get over the current COVID-19 pandemic.