Would You Read Nigerian Books on Mobile Devices? New App Okadabooks is Betting on It!

Posted on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 at 3:00 PM

By BellaNaija.com

Two women in Nigeria using a mobile phoneIn today’s Nigeria, mobile devices have been blamed for the dwindling reading culture amongst our youths. People say mobile phones are distracting and go to great lengths to discourage its use amongst youths.

However, some developers have created a mobile reading app called Okadabooks that looks to make books and other educational resources available on … drum roll … mobile devices. This is a similar idea to “Opon Imo” (read that article here) featured in March on BellaNaija. But rather than making specialized e-readers like Opon Imo, the app makes use of already existing mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Basically, anyone with any android device can download the app (click here to see the app) and start reading thousands of books including classics from Alice In Wonderland to Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah. The library also includes free past JAMB/SSCE question papers with answers. The app launched on the Google playstore on July of 2013 and so far has close to 3000 users and over 7500 books in its library.

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app shotThis sounds like a good idea. However, some argue that utilizing a software app approach may be ineffective . For one thing, the majority of Nigerian youths use Symbian or Blackberry phones, but Okadabooks only works on Android devices. Also, there is the screen size limitations on phones that might make it hard or non-conducive for readers to read for long period of time. Not to mention that most Nigerian educational institutions have made a covenant (*notice what we did there?*) to ban phones in classrooms.

On the flip side, there are more and more affordable android phones flooding the Nigerian market daily. New phones as cheap as N10,000 with full android functionality can be gotten easily across Nigeria. Also, if books such as Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ are readily accessible to Nigerian youths without them having to go to bookstores, there is a chance they might read more.

At the end of the day, arguments can be made for and against this idea. What is your take? Do you think the putting of books on phones will get more Nigerians reading? And how does it compare with the Opon Imo initiative? Please give reasons for your opinion.

Photo Credit: Kristian Buus

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  • 18 Comments on “Would You Read Nigerian Books on Mobile Devices? New App Okadabooks is Betting on It!”

    Comments
    • TA September 24, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      Okechukwu Ofili may you live long! Its a fantastic idea whose time had come. So if you didnt do it,someone else might have. :-) I downloaded the app last week and have read 3 books so far,am still waiting for the rest of Americanah (the version on Okadabooks stops at Chapter 5) to be available on the App. Please upload more books,am waiting with bated breath for Anne Frank’s Diary of a Jewish girl,yes i will pay for it. Thanking you in advance. :-)
      Kudos to you and the other guys for this initiativee. Brilliant idea!
      Ji sii ike

      • TA September 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        In addition,i think it would be nice to have timeless
        classics like ‘Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography,Oliver Twist,Eze
        goes to school,The bottled leopard,Things Fall Apart,etc as free
        books on the Apps. This would encourage youths of school age to
        read these books. However,you could choose to charge a small price
        on newer books like ‘There was a country by Achebe,John Grisham’s
        books etc,. My thinking is that persons who would typically go to a
        book store to buy books would not need further prodding to use this
        App but the typical Nigerian teenager used to only
        ‘pinging’,facebooking etc on their phones,Lol! :-) may not go out
        of their way to download books simply to read them. So,its best to
        encourage them by making the popular books available and free on
        the App. Kudos for this initiative!

    • apt September 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      Yes, I am even buying some for my children, promote literature

    • Dora the explorer September 25, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Ill read Nigerian books off anything, mobile phone, tab, computer and hardcopy.. we have prolific writers I have to say..

    • cleo briggs September 25, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      I am sssooooo on this train!!!!!!!

    • ologundudu abraham September 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      I love this innovation.

    • her September 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      great app!!

    • Bleed blue September 25, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Excellent! Love the idea. Everything is going digital, so why not Nigerian books?

      Ofili…fine wine…you’re too much!

    • meme September 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      Yea I have read and still read Nigerian books from amazon
      by using either my cell phone or my kindle…its way convenient
      than the regular text.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian September 25, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      i have been considering getting a second phone and this
      would have pointed me in the right direction. However my eyesight
      is really poor and i do not think reading off a phone will be a
      prudent idea. If it is possible to get it on a laptop or a tablet
      where i can increase the resolution or font size, it would be
      really helpful.

      • Okechukwu Ofili September 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

        You can increase the font size on the phone and it also works on tablets.

    • Deedee September 25, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      Nice concept

    • ronny September 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      Lmao at d convenant dig,serves them right.Can it be
      downloaded on iphone?

    • Taofik September 25, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      have not been able to download so far. Apparently you need
      a google wallet account which does not quite make sense especially
      since most of the books are free

    • Tinu September 26, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      It really is a fab app and is a delight to read on my
      samsung phone’s widescreen so i have no problem with size. Would
      definitely recommend!

    • Adesile September 26, 2013 at 5:01 AM

      I totally love it, downloaded it last month and its been amazing. Especially this book my beautiful sad life lovely. Keep it up

    • Tiki October 30, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Lovely idea. I really wish someone woudl get Blackberry to develop a similar, properly functional bookreading app though. My iPhone exists for iBooks

    • Tiki October 30, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      …and IG, and frankly I’d love to do all of that on one phone!