OkadaBooks shuts down as hard times hit businesses under Tinubu

A digital publishing and book marketing platform, Okada Books, has announced the end of its operations in Nigeria, marking the end of a decade-long journey in facilitating self-published books and empowering writers to earn from their literary works.

The company CEO, Okechukwu Ofili, who announced this in a memo on Monday, said that the company now faces macroeconomics that were insurmountable and the company would end its 10-year-run with over 27000 books in its library and 300,000 active readers.

“After much consideration and reflection, we have come to a difficult decision. OkadaBooks will be closing its virtual doors on November 30, 2023. This has not been an easy choice. We’ve explored various avenues to keep our virtual bookshelves alive, but, unfortunately, the challenges we face are insurmountable,” Mr Ofili said.

The decision comes amidst the challenging economic situation in Nigeria, where businesses grapple with the effects of President Bola Tinubu’s economic policies that had led to widespread impoverishment, despite calls for patience from his cabinet.

While bidding farewell, he encouraged users to explore alternative avenues for literary adventures.

“As we bid farewell to OkadaBooks, we hope that you continue to explore the vast world of literature through other avenues. The adventure doesn’t end; it merely takes a new and exciting turn,” he added.

However, this shift will not be without its challenges, as OkadaBooks’ users will now be compelled to seek alternatives, potentially turning to platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, which may come with higher costs. The closure is not only a setback for writers seeking affordable self-publishing options but also impacts readers who relied on OkadaBooks as an accessible source of literature.

Launched in 2013, Okada Books, led by Mr Ofili, aimed to simplify book distribution and sales in Nigeria. Recognising the challenges faced by Nigerian writers in securing traditional publishing contracts and the financial hurdles of self-publishing, the platform became a beacon of accessibility. It provided authors with a direct channel to share their works with readers, offering a democratised means to generate income. The platform’s significance was underscored by its selection as one of the 12 startups for Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa in 2017.