Nigerian digital publishing and bookselling platform, Okada Books, has revealed its decision to shut down on 30th November, with its CEO and founder, Okechukwu Ofili, citing macroeconomic challenges as the primary reason for the decision.
Launched in 2013, Okada Books aimed to simplify book distribution and sales in Nigeria, particularly addressing the challenges faced by local writers in securing publishing contracts or affording self-publishing.
The platform allowed authors to easily self-publish their works and connect with readers who were willing to pay for their content. Available on Android, the Okada Books platform facilitated direct sharing between authors and readers, with Okada Books taking a 30% commission on each sale.
The platform, which played a crucial role in creating a market for self-published works, hosted a library of over 40,000 original books, with over 400,000 registered readers. Despite these gains, Okada Books could not overcome the challenges posed by the difficult macroeconomic climate.
The shutdown is met with disappointment by the literary community, as Okada Books provided a vital platform for writers to monetize their works. Ruth Zakari, editor-in-chief at Zikoko, expressed sadness at the closure but also anticipated the emergence of alternatives to fill the gap left by Okada Books.
This development adds to the growing list of challenges faced by African startups in a shaky macroeconomic market. Okada Books is not the only startup to shutdown in recent times. Zazuu, a fintech marketplace for cross-border payment networks in Africa, also recently shut down after failing to secure additional funding despite raising over $2 million from investors. The closure of Okada Books shows the struggles faced by startups in the region and the need for resilience amidst economic uncertainties.