It all seemed so unlikely. Twin brothers in Nigeria, one an author, one a musician, decide to distribute their and other artists contents through a micro-aggregator called Publiseer.
Only launched in Lagos in August 2017, twins Chidi and Chika Nwaogu have since expanded their operation to Kenya, Ghana and most recently South Africa.
Now we learn the brothers are planning a launch in Egypt in the new year.
That’s probably not so very surprising. The Nwaogu brothers have been talking to Google Play, which distributes music widely across Africa but only has ebook stores in South Africa and Egypt.
With 48 million people online Egypt is the 20th largest country by internet users so a logical next step for the twins. This will be the first time Publiseer has gone to a country where English is not an official language, perhaps a sign of growing confidence.
What is a surprise is that Publiseer have somehow got Nathan Hull on board as an adviser.
Hull is best known for BookChoice, and before that his central role in building up the Danish ebook subscription service Mofibo, which was acquired by Storytel. But Hull also has a background in mainstream publishing and in music, having worked for Penguin and Universal Music.
An ideal fit, then, for an energetic young start-up in Africa just at a time when diversity and internationalism is all the rage.
With just 1,000 titles across music and books Publiseer may be dwarfed by its western rivals, but at a time when said western rivals are looking the other way as the Africa Renaissance unfolds, Publiseer’s pan-African ambitions stand a good chance of becoming reality.