Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter

What Happened to Okada Books? Nigeria’s Pioneer Digital Publishing Platform

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

Share your love

If you’re an avid reader, chances are you’re familiar with OkadaBooks. As a pioneering digital publishing platform, OkadaBooks transformed the world of book dissemination in Nigeria.

Picture Source: Google Play

The platform broke down the traditional barriers to publishing. Consequently, it democratized access to literature across the country, and widened the scope of literary consumption.

Regrettably, on November 30, 2023, the platform ceased its operations. This shutdown left a void in the digital publishing sphere. Also, many readers and aspiring authors were left without a platform for sharing and discovering new literary works.

The closure of Okada Books was the end of an era, but what really happened to them? This article explores the issues surrounding the shutdown of this popular platform that changed how we read and publish books.

OkadaBooks: The Genesis

OkadaBooks was founded in 2013 by Nigerian writer, Okechukwu Ofili, and it quickly grew as Africa’s leading digital book provider. It boasted over 40k original books and over 400k registered readers on the platform.

Ofili stated that his goal was to simplify book publication and distribution in Nigeria. This was a necessity since Nigerian writers had to struggle to get publishing and distribution contracts in the country. 

Also, In 2017, OkadaBooks was among 12 startups selected for Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa. OkadaBooks operates by giving writers the ability to self-publish their books and connect with readers who are willing to pay for their books on the platform.

On its Android and online platforms, writers could share their works and make money, while the platform took a commission of 30% on every sale.

The average cost of a book on the platform ranges from N250-N500, with authors having the liberty to determine the price of their books. 

With over 8000 writers published on the platform, some of the popular books published on the platform include Toke Makinwa’s On Becoming, Sally Kenneth Dadzie’s The Fourth Finger, and Isaac Newton Akah’s Living In Gidi.

Challenges Encountered by OkadaBooks

No journey is without its challenges. Okada Books was among 9 other startups who had to shut down in 2023, with a total investment of over $70 million.

These affected startups include Lazerpay, Pivo, 54 gene, Bundle Africa, Payday, Zazuu, Vibra, Okadabooks, and Hytch. Just as the rest, OkadaBooks cited rough macroeconomic challenges. 

Financial sustainability remained a looming question, as the platform struggled to find a profitable model without compromising its mission of accessibility.

Okechukwu in a post made on X said “we explored various avenues to keep our virtual bookshelves alive but, unfortunately, the challenges we face are insurmountable.”

The platform also made a post on social media expressing their regrets and apologies to users of their platform.

Dear OkadaBook Family,

I hope this message finds you well. It is with a heavy heart and a sense of profound gratitude that I reach out to you today.

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.

Over the years, we’ve experienced incredible journeys together-delving into new worlds, discovering diverse voices, and fostering a community of readers and writers that we are immensely proud of. Each one of you has played a crucial role in making OkadaBooks what it is today, and for that, we are truly grateful.

Your support and passion have been everything to us. We’ve witnessed amazing stories unfold, celebrated the triumphs of authors, and, most importantly, built a community that cherishes the written word. Although this chapter is coming to an end, the stories, memories, and connections will endure.

We understand that this news might come as a shock, and we are here to assist with any questions or concerns you may have. Please feel free to reach out to our support team at okadabooks@gmail.com.

On behalf of the entire OkadaBooks team, I want to express my deepest gratitude for being part of this incredible journey. Thank you for sharing your love of literature with us and contributing to the vibrant community that has flourished here.

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.

Thank you once again for your unwavering support and for making OkadaBooks a cherished part of your reading life.

Wishing you all the best in your future literary adventures.

Regards,

Okechukwu Ofili

CEO, OkadaBooks

The Legacy

Today, the status of OkadaBooks is a reflection of the challenges facing digital enterprises in Nigeria. While its operational status might be uncertain, its legacy is undeniable.

Okada Books not only provided a platform for thousands of authors but also inspired a generation to embrace digital reading. 

Since OkadaBooks is shutting down its operations, writers who rely on the platform to monetise their works would be forced to find alternatives. We hope there are more localized innovations coming.

Conclusion

Okada Books will be remembered as a pioneer that transformed the digital publishing sphere in Nigeria. Its journey from an ambitious startup to a beloved platform for literature enthusiasts is noteworthy.

As the digital publishing industry continues to evolve, the legacy of Okada Books will undoubtedly continue to inspire and shape the future of literature in Nigeria and beyond.

Recommendations

Google for Startups Growth Academy: AI for Health 2024

Apply for the Digital Africa Talent 4 Startups Program

Four Nigerian Startups on the Final List of Africa Tech Summit

Share your love
Peremoboere Numa
Peremoboere Numa

Pere is a versatile SEO writer with a Master's degree in English, who is dedicated to creating engaging and impactful content.

She excels in weaving content that not only informs, enlightens and impacts but but also optimize its online presence to rank on major web sites.

Pere brings a unique blend of linguistic proficiency and SEO knowledge, ensuring that each piece she crafts leave a lasting impact.

Articles: 75

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter

Stay informed and not overwhelmed, subscribe now!