Two Nigerian ebook start-ups prepare to challenge Okada

Nigeria is not an easy place to buy ebooks. None of the Big 5 western ebook retailers have any presence in this English-speaking nation of 180 million people, leaving the door open for local initiatives.

Just last September Publiseer launched, offering a uniquely positioned self-publishing portal for writers and, wait for it, musicians.

Publiseer claims to distribute books and songs to over 400 premium stores, with no upfront fees. It pays authors and artists $1 a sale.

This week Publiseer became a finalist in the 2018 Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition, that takes place in the US next month.

The new ebook subscription service Panacea also makes the news this week as its platform comes out of beta, launching an Android app for its e-library service.

Panacea is targetting the academic and education market primarily, but its self-pub portal does permit novels, leaving the way open to expand as a broader-based platform.

With just 150 users right now this is very early days for Panacea, but the potential is there to become a significant player in a significant market.

With 98 million people online, Nigeria is the eighth largest country in the world by internet users, and ahead of every country in Europe except Russia, yet is only at 50% penetration.

Both Publiseer and Panacea face established competition from Okada, but in a market of this size there’s plenty of room for everyone.

2 Replies to “Two Nigerian ebook start-ups prepare to challenge Okada”

  1. Hi Mark,
    Thank you for this interesting article. I enjoy reading your news and updates.
    One small (self-serving) comment: There are heaps of readers in Nigeria today who find it easy to buy ebooks, because sells directly into Nigeria. Actually we distribute over a million titles from all the leading English language publishers to every country in the world. And we’re adding 25,000 new titles each month.

  2. That’s impressive, Stephen. And a timely comment, as is on my list to get in contact with to explore on TNPS as part of a series on the unsung ebook stores that get overshadowed by the Big 5. Expect an email sometime soon!

    But on the specific topic of Nigeria (and similar countries) do you have any figures for how many of those 1.3 million titles you offer are actually accessible worldwide, or specifically available for sale in Nigeria?

    Kobo, like, offers worldwide reach, but as an expat here in The Gambia I cannot buy a substantial chunk of Kobo’s catalogue because of publisher-imposed territorial restrictions.

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