Monthly Archives: September 2014

Dear Author/Publisher, Where Are Your Readers? Part 2

If you haven’t read the first part of this article, we recommend that you do by clicking here

Part of the global trend is that many publishers, newspaper houses included,  are recording a huge drop in sales of physical books and are moving their operations online. It isn’t that people are no longer reading. Instead, it is that they are reading differently.

Even libraries in the leading educational institutions globally are moving from physical books to electronic access. Instead of books, we are seeing huge servers and networks of internet-connected PCs. A lot of research is done online via search engines. As a matter of fact, many people now school online, acquiring knowledge and skills that they would otherwise not have had access to without doing a lot of travelling and incurring huge expenses.

A Cultural Change

What we are seeing is a huge cultural change. The readers are alive and well. They are only just adapting a newer medium. Here is a quick summary:

  1. Readers are moving online for their content consumption.
  2. Readers are using their PCs, tablets and smartphones as the new channels for content consumption.
  3. E-books, e-magazines, blogs, and video are the new media available on these new channels.
  4. While video isn’t huge in these parts yet because of high data costs and inadequate infrastructure, people are consuming content more and more that way.
  5. The physical book is not dead yet, but its viability as a sole means of income generation is seriously being threatened.
  6. With the exception of regions where infrastructure and costs make it not feasible, as a rule, publishers and authors need to start thinking of putting their works out via new media FIRST, and in physical book format second.
  7. Publishers and authors need to get “social”: in other words, they need to engage their readers on the readers’ where they hang out and on their own terms. In this new world, people hang out on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc).

It is a new world. Publishing and education is fast changing from what we grew up with, and we must change with the times in order to stay relevant.

First Veritas has an e-distribution channel to over 1000 online retailers. As an author/publisher, you can take advantage of this. Call 08104039756. Read more about the e-distribution here

Dear Author/Publisher, Where Are Your Readers?

It is becoming increasingly common to hear authors and writers of books complain of dropping sales and engagement. We hear phrases like “Nigerians do not read”, and the like. Publishing books seems to be a fast-declining industry. Even newspapers are no longer selling as much as they used to. If publishers and authors are not selling as they used to – and many are not making any money off it any more – there are questions that need to be asked.

 

For example, is it true that Nigerians do not read, or is it that we are not paying attention to what they read? Or could it be that authors and publishers are ignoring the section of Nigerians who read?

 

Statistics are difficult to come by in Nigeria, not to mention accurate statistics. However, a look at trends here in the country and elsewhere may give us hints as to what is really going on. For example, globally, there is an increasing shift in reading culture from hard cover books to virtual material – ebooks and e-magazines. Newspaper houses all over the world have found that much of the news they carry is already available online hours before they hit the press. They have also found that the average person with internet access has migrated to getting their news online as against from printed paper.

 

Publishing online is not only faster, it is easier and costs much less than traditional publishing. There is also the question of reach. The potential to reach much more people across huge geographical divides than printed materials can do is unprecedented.

 

With the advent of mobile technology, the terrain has changed even more. Comic book publishers are churning out mobile apps for their readers to subscribe to their favourite comic books. Authors are publishing e-books, so anyone can buy those books and read on their smartphones or tablets.

 

These are global phenomena, and perhaps these can give us hints as to what is happening in the Nigerian environment too.

First Veritas has an e-distribution channel to over 1000 online retailers. As an author/publisher, you can take advantage of this. Call 08104039756. Read more about the e-distribution here

Our Actions Reveal Our Values by Mister Mobility

Humans have a penchant for blaming others for their troubles. There are very few people who will sit down to re-evaluate their actions and reflect to determine whether or not they need to make adjustments somewhere. Here in Nigeria, it is old news that education is mostly in shambles. We have tons of schools, yet the huge majority of graduates are unemployable without any further training or re-training. We have graduates who are unable to string a sentence together without grammatical errors. We have engineers who have never taken apart a combustion engine. We must mention the computer scientists whose only skills on a PC is the use of Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer.

We all know the problems. They have been re-hashed again and again over the years. It is true also that government has not lived up to its responsibilities for the most part. Or rather, that people in government have made sure that government does not by misappropriating funds. But how about us? Are there ways in which we encourage this rot in educational development?

  1. When as individuals, we spend more money on fun and entertainment than we do on personal development, what values are we reflecting?
  2. Do we spend more money on fashion than on buying resources that we can learn or develop new skills from?
  3. When we have access to the internet, what websites are our primary destinations – gossip and entertainment blogs, or blogs where we can find quality content for personal and professional development?
  4. Have you ever been to a cyber cafe and witnessed students (in school uniform) viewing porn sites, instead of using that access to learn?
  5. When our corporate organisations spend millions of Naira in sponsorship of music and sports shows, as against a few hundreds of thousands for educational shows and events, what values are they reflecting and encouraging?

It does not seem that as a people, we really value education. This is not to say that there are not pockets of exceptions to the rule. There are. But what we value is so clear from our actions and spending that they do not need to be voiced. If we will move forward, there has to be a sweeping change in the mindset of the average Nigerian. This is not just a government problem. This change needs to happen across board.

Yomi Adegboye AKA Mister Mobility, founder Mobility Blog. Mobile connoisseur. Maverick. Techie. Blogger. Entrepreneur. Agony Aunt. Adventurer. Amateur musician. Follow him on Twitter @Mister_Mobility, on LinkedIn at Yomi Adegboye, and Circle him on Google+. Listen to his music on SoundCloud.

 

How Important are Math and English to Education?

For as long as one can remember, Math and English have enjoyed the enviable esteem as the two subjects on which all of our education hinge on. Without a pass in both of these subjects, one does not make progress educationally. As a matter of fact, a credit in both subjects is required for advancement at many levels.

 

In WAEC (West African Examinations Council) and SSCE (Senior Secondary School Examination), credits in five subjects including Math and English is the criterion for determining if a student passes or not.

 

In recent times, there have been controversies around the fairness of using credits in these two subjects to judge the percentage of students that pass exams. A central argument is that not everyone ends up needing English and Math. As such, it is expedient that we examine this argument.

 

  • Everyone needs to communicate. In a multi-lingual country like ours, English is the official language. The reality also is that English is by and large the official language of the world. Without upholding English as important, the country will soon degenerate into Babel.
  • For years, employers and recruitment agencies have complained about the inability of the average university graduate to compose a flawless sentence in English. We can only imagine what will happen if we decide that English is no longer important to educational development.
  • There is no profession or vocation in the country that does not require a proficiency in communication, and English is the default language for that. How do professionals communicate effectively if students are allowed to pass with or without proficiency in English?
  • Math is an everyday tool for everyone. We budget with it, go shopping, carry out buying and selling, evaluate personal, corporate and national statistics with our knowledge of Math. Personal salaries, business revenue and profit, taxes and a whole lot more on a personal level, are all dependent on our knowledge of Math.

 

In the light of the above, it is difficult to see reason with those who would have us drop Math and English as requirements for passing examinations and moving forward. They are very essential to education and living. Making these two subjects unimportant will further tear down the already bad standard of education in the country.

 

Since we are in the business of creating solutions, our Question Bank, a CD software of WAEC past questions, is a useful resource for the student preparing for WAEC. Read more the First Veritas Question  Bank here.

For School Admin: Leveraging During This Ebola Period

As a school administrator/owner, how are you adjusting your academic calendar plan in view of the holiday extension due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus (EVD)?

Holiday extension due to health concerns should not totally disrupt the school’s teaching plans. As such, if you are a futuristic school with an already vibrant e-learning platform, kudos to you! However, if you do not have existing e-learning platforms, here are a few tips you can use before school resumes:

  • Assign revision assignments and communicate them via bulk SMS to the parents of your students (See why you should keep school records?)
  • Mathematics and English (and all their variations) are the bases on which others course subjects are built. Therefore, start students on course work in Mathematics & English
    Graded Readers Book

    Graded Readers Book

    before school resumption. Encourage their parents to come to the school to purchase relevant textbooks.Below are some of the textbooks you can utilize:

    • First Veritas Grammar and Comprehension for Primary Schools (Books 1-5)
    •  The Book of Phonics for Primary Schools (with complimentary Audio CD) (Books 1-6)
    • First Veritas Quantitative Reasoning for Primary Schools (Books 1-6)
    • First Veritas Verbal Reasoning for Primary Schools (Books 1-6)
    • First Veritas has Universal Basic Mathematics for Primary 1-6
    •  First Veritas Graded Readers for Primary is a series of 36 storybooks across 6 levels. Give them essay assignments based on these story books. Engage the students!
    • For the pre-primary schoolers, our Pinwheel Books can be very beneficial. Pinwheel Jumbo Activity
      Jumbo Activity Book

      Jumbo Activity Book

      Book is a wholistic  activity book to engage the mind of the very active pre-schooler.

    • First Veritas Question Bank is a CD compilation of WAEC past questions (over 20 years) in 11 subjects. Students can practice with this software in the comfort of their homes before school resumption and even after school resumption.

This is a very challenging period for the education sector but it could also be an occasion for you to differentiate your school as a creative, practical and pro-active institution by taking these necessary steps.

You can call 08104039756 to order for some or all of these books.

Is It True That Nigerians Do Not Read?

Image from Google

Image from Google

There is the constant complaint that Nigerians do not read. We hear about the death of the reading culture in the country over and over again. In truth, if we look at book sales records, it does seem that those assertions are correct. However, a closer look may reveal something else.

 

Because of the often lack of statistics available in the country, in the past, it was difficult to measure a lot of things, including book and magazine sales. With the advent of the internet though, for the first time, we have a means of collating data for evaluation. Here are a few teasers.

 

  • “Nigerians do not read”, yet there are 56 million active mobile internet users in the country.
  • As at 2013, Nigeria had overtaken South Africa to become Facebook’s largest user base in Sub Saharan Africa with over 11 million users.
  • Nigeria is the third most active African country on Twitter.
  • Nigeria has been in the top 10 usage of Opera Mini browser globally for many years.
  • Nigeria continues to be a top country on the BBC website in terms of traffic.

 

There are many more places online that Nigerians are active, but a look at these few should suffice for our experiment. If it is true that Nigerians do not read, exactly what is it that Nigerians on Facebook and Twitter do? Sleep? Mope?

 

Every day on Facebook and Twitter , Nigerians share and comment on articles that they have read. Interesting (and sometimes sadly unpleasant) discussions are generated from these articles. The records show that Nigerians put out a lot of information on those two platforms. We see people publishing their own notes, as well as sharing excerpts and links from their own blogs and websites.

 

Perhaps it isn’t true after all that Nigerians do not read. Perhaps the real challenge is that authors and publishers need to find out how to create content that Nigerians will enjoy reading.