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



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.

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


  1. 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!

  2. apt

    September 25, 2013 at 3:23 pm

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

  3. 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..

  4. cleo briggs

    September 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

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

  5. ologundudu abraham

    September 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I love this innovation.

  6. her

    September 25, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    great app!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Deedee

    September 25, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Nice concept

  11. ronny

    September 25, 2013 at 10:35 pm

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

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Tiki

    October 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

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

  17. Theresa Doghor

    July 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I love to read
    My kid sister on the other hands avoids books. Sometimes it is interest. Their parents have to help them develop the interest on time

  18. Adewale

    October 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    You can get both of the books to buy at

  19. habu

    March 15, 2015 at 11:03 pm


  20. amogu precious

    May 30, 2016 at 1:43 am

    I would really love to have this app!, but am using a blacberry phone. #sad

  21. Phassy law Wordsmith

    August 28, 2016 at 9:30 am

    You have done impressively well with this timeless innovation. I applaud your commitment to seeing that the reading culture stays with the current technology. Great job sir!

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