Nigerian publishers, under their umbrella group, the Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) have bemoaned what they described as the poor reading culture among Nigerians and the crippling effects of piracy, which is one of the greatest factors militating against the survival of the publishing industry in the country, and globally.
The association expressed the concern during a press conference, addressed in Enugu to mark this year’s World Book and Copyright Day. The President/Chairman-in- Council of NPA, Uchenna Cyril Anioke, said the World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated annually on April 23, as set aside by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO ) since April 1995.
While addressing journalists, the NPA President called on the Federal Government to devise measures of tackling the trend of piracy by ensuring that the Copyright Laws were adequately implemented to protect the industry.
He also lamented that while publishers are under severe hard times in ensuring that the books and other literary works by authors and writers are published to enhance national development, the pirates indulged in using poor quality materials in mass production of books and flooded various markets with the same poor materials, thereby damaging the industry and staunting its development.
This, he said, had deprived publishers and authors from making profit from their creative works, stressing: “Piracy is perhaps today the most vicious obstacle facing the book industry in Nigeria.
This has sent many publishing houses into involuntary liquidation. Most book sellers now offer top selling books at absurd prices as they resorted to the use of inferior materials and copy ideas by pirates. “This has improved the sales of pirates, while publishers are left with little reward for their works.
The government’s failure to find solutions to piracy even with established regulatory agencies is greatly affecting publishers negatively. The Copyright Laws are grossly outdated and inadequate to handle the menace of book piracy in Nigeria.”
He further identified some of the constraints confronting the book industry in Nigeria to include illiteracy, finance, poor reading culture and infrastructural decay, even as Anioke added that “countries with high level of literacy and high number of readers are economically, socially and politically more viable than non-reading countries.”