Arts & Entertainments

Embrace technology, innovation, experts tell book publishers

Experts in the book publishing industry have stressed the need for the country’s challenged book industry to embrace technology amid COVID-19 to realise its full potential. Speaking at this year’s International Book Fair (IBF) conference, which has as its theme: ‘Information Technology as Panacea for the Book Industry Sustainability amidst COVID-19 Pandemic’, the Chairman of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), Mr. Gbadega Adedapo, said the world wasn’t exactly prepared for the devastating effect that followed the COVID- 19 pandemic, but they had to adjust nonetheless.

Adedapo, who spoke on the sidelines of this year’s event, which is the 19th in the series, that the event was organised by the Nigerian Book Fair Trust (NBFT), which that includes publishers, printers, librarians, booksellers, in association with Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC).

He also added that the event was held virtually in obedience to the COVID-19 protocols, while also stressing that activities that usually marked the fair at its venue in University of Lagos (UNILAG) included conferences, book exhibitions, Authors Groove in collaboration with Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and many more will now hold online via Zoom. Adedayo said: “Several companies had to shut down and others surprisingly or maybe not surprisingly, thrived.

Most of the companies that thrived are those that embraced technology or those that continued their operations virtually. “For instance, Zoom Video Conferencing experienced an overnight success amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of the surge in Zoom users due to the compulsory stay-home policy. “Before the pandemic, Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom, saw that one day, people would need to hold meetings without meeting physically.

And with technology, he made it possible. I know many of us in the book industry appreciate the joy of holding a paperback. “In fact, some might enjoy the smell of old books in a room. But it is becoming clearer that we do not only have to acknowledge the role of Information Technology in sustaining the book industry, we also have to gladly embrace the tide.” Earlier, the President of International Book Association (IBA), Mr. Hugo Setzer, had through the virtual means, also harped on how technology had altered the way publishers should think their business and adapt to the changing times to be relevant.

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