I am an author and live in Africa. I have a book which is not just on paperback but kindle (electronic) format as well and is on sale, online, at Jeff Bezos Amazon.com. The irony is that I don’t have a kindle or any other e-book reader my self. I had the audacity to launch this book online despite knowing that with the exception of a few countries, the e-book retailers: Amazon, Lulu, Barnes and Noble, Apple … don’t sell to Africa. The outcome is that my book has sold just about half a dozen copies in three years with the exception of free downloads.
I think that the primary reason why my book failed to sell satisfactorily is the fact that even though the book was inspired by challenges in Africa which the book aims to address, it was self-published on Amazon.com, a book retailer that hasn’t entered Africa which the exception of south Africa and perhaps two other nations of the continent.
Information and Communication Technology, ICT, became relevant in view of the progress it has brought over what we had prior to its arrival. The information it brings in the area of education and elsewhere is of high quality, cheap and affordable. ICT also brings equality in education since the best teachers now make their resourcefulness available to all people around the world via multimedia devices of the ICT. Along that line, Africa can use the opportunity to close the educational gap between it and the developed world. Thus when Amazon and its sister online retailers shut its doors to the continent, they are depriving the continent of the nourishment that is imperative for the growth and development of Africa’s education and, by extrapolation, its general well-being.
It is okay to find financial prosperity in business but also necessary to do good to humanity as we do that. If Amazon’s continued investment and expansion of its activities were to be based solely on financial considerations, then it will never look out for areas of further expansion; Jeff has enough for a dozen generations of his descendants. Thus the sole spur for continued research and the investments thereof, is to serve humanity. Along that line, it could be said that a huge opening for online retailers to serve mankind is beckoning in Africa.
Nigeria by the good value of its human population and economic strength is the gateway to Africa. In Nigeria, there are hundreds of tertiary institutions that include universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and other tertiary institutions with hundreds of thousands of students waiting to buy the kindle reader should it become available for use in the country. Nigeria, a nation of ego architects, will ensure that the kindle reader is in every home, even homes where it will not be put to use. This will however bring about the proliferation of the e-book to the good of the nation. The chain of beneficiaries will be endless: Authors and would-be authors; education; marketers; job seekers, governments that would experience jumps in their quest for growth and mankind will be served adequately, not just in Nigeria but across the continent of 1.033 billion people ( World Population Review, 2013).