By Prisca Sam-Duru
Associate Professor of Publishing & Media Studies Department of Mass Communication, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Samuel Okere has insisted that in order for the publishing industry to be sustainable, there is need for repositioning.
Prof Okere stated this at Day 2 of the just concluded Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF) 2022.
Speaking on the topic: “Publishing in Nigeria: Imperative of Change, Growth and Sustainability,” he described publishing as a noble profession and academic discipline that sustains individual growth and national development, stressing that publishing must never be allowed to die.
Okere, who is also the Director, Babcock University Press, said members of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) must embark on innovative book publishing management, maximize opportunities for e-publishing especially for persons with disabilities and, harness social media in book promotion.
He further identified nine indices to reposition the publishing industry which include; Numerical strength, self-preservation, generic product development, visibility, evolving technology, corporate social responsibility, inclusivity, professionalism and reference point input.
On numerical strength, he said publishers are all over the geo-political zones of the country and with over two hundred members, he argued that NPA has the numerical strength. He, however suggested that with such numerical strength, there is need to preserve publishers’ heritage by addressing piracy, noting that NPA has made some progress with their partnership with Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), especially in terms of awareness and education.
Concerning generic product development, Prof Okere who acknowledged NPA’s role for publishing educative materials, advised members to publish journals and books for institutions of higher learning.
Speaking on feasibility, he said, “We must be globally feasible and aesthetically appealing. We must have a website that is beautiful and up to date.”
He added that NPA has to be dynamic and must evolve with new technological trends while harping on the need to embrace digital revolution in order to be sustainable, stressing that “we can have African version of Amazon.’
On inclusivity, he noted that persons with disabilities must be carried along by providing materials for the visually impaired, emphasizing that members should leverage publishing audio books in electronic formats. He further noted that there is need to have inclusive access to literacy materials.
Speaking further, he stressed the need for publishing to be professionalized, warning that, “if we don’t think professionalism, then we are not growing and that is quackery.”
On reference Point Input, Okere who cited American Publishers Association that is a good reference point in publishing across the globe, enjoined NPA to be a good reference point, suggesting that “The Publishers” journal must be revived.
He observed that publishing thrives on ideas and publishers have the ideas, pointing out that there is also technology at their disposal and technology is driving change and changing the narrative.
“We are in a changing world, every mode of production and social relations is changing so we must not let publishing die”, he intoned.