Archives: Publishing

Piracy and Publishing

In very simple terms, piracy is the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work that is then sold at substantially lower prices in the market. In the context of publishing, that means the unauthorized use, reproduction and sale of an author’s writing or book. Piracy diverts money away from the original author and publisher into the hands of the pirate. The results are loss of income for the author, publisher and anyone else who has invested in the items being pirated.

 

Think about it, for every item reproduced illegally, there is income diverted away from a long chain of individuals who have invested in the production of that item – the writer, the proofreader, the editor, graphic artists, distribution teams, advertisers, PR employees, etc..

 

Piracy creates a ripple effect that includes making it difficult for authors and publishers to continue to create materials. Bad sales on a first book due to the activities of pirates means that it is tougher to produce the next book. As such, valuable materials don’t make it to the market at all. Schools and students are denied much-needed books. Consumers are denied valuable resources and entertainment (in the case of novels and story books). Piracy has a very crippling effect.

 

This is one clear reason why we need to encourage original authors and producers in tackling piracy. We need to patronise recognised distributors and sales channels, seek out authentic copies of books and other published material, and pay for those materials. That way, we help to keep the publishing industry standing and thriving. That way, we guarantee that more authors and writers will create more of the good and useful materials that we need or want.

 

It is important that the damaging effects of piracy are understood. It is also important to understand the consequences under the law. Anyone caught copying, reproducing and/or distributing illegal copies of books and other published works can be held liable under the law.

 

Let’s help fight piracy.

 

 

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

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.

EXAMINATION ANXIETY

Most people can relate with that pounding in the chest, rumbling in the tummy, freezing in the limbs during or just before examination sessions (Oral or written).

Examination anxiety could be caused by various factors: student’s lack of confidence, presence of competition among other students/participants, expectations of family and friends and most importantly the gains of success and consequences of failure.

Teachers, Friends and families can take up a very effective role in overcoming exam anxiety by:

  • Encouraging student to talk about their concerns and listening carefully.
  • Providing support in preparation for the exam in any way possible.
  • Encouraging students to follow steps outline below.

Step 1-  Be careful of what you eat and drink during preparation and on the examination day.

Step 2- Get enough sleep. Six to eight hours are recommended. If you have trouble getting to sleep, ensure you get an hour break from revision session before jumping to bed.

Step 3- Take regular exercise.  Even if it is just a walk, exercising helps to use up the hormones and nervous energy produced when you are stressed, it  increases the blood flow around the body and can help you to think more clearly.

Step 4-: Control your breathing. If you notice that you are starting to feel very stressed,  try to regulate your breathing by concentrating on breathing out to a slow count of four; the breathing in will take care of itself. It will be helpful if you practise this exercise when you are not stressed so that you are very familiar with the technique when you actually need it.

Step 5- Make time for fun. Build leisure time into your revision days and the days that you sit your exams. Get involved in a non-academic activity, such as sports, crafts, hobbies or music. Anything that you find relaxing or enjoyable which will give you a break from thinking or worrying about your exams will be beneficial.

Step 6- Improve your study skills. Effective study skills make you feel more in control of your work and more confident that you will succeed. You might need a more resourceful text on the subject, a more quite place for reading, or need to take trial version of exams e.t.c.  It may also be useful to talk to your school course tutor to get subject specific advice to help make your revision more focused.

 

How to Find a Mentor

  1. Know what you want. Before you begin scouting for a mentor, you need to know what you want in life. Just as you need to have a destination in mind before you begin looking for a map, that is the same way you need to have clear goals and objectives of the direction you want your life to go before looking for someone to guide you.
  2. Decide the areas in which you need mentoring. You may have more and urgent needs in some areas than in others. For instance, although you want to be a good parent, you may decide that you do not require mentoring in that area and focus on professional competence instead. Similarly, you may decide you want a mentor in both areas. The point is that you have to decide.
  3. Have an image of what your mentor should be like. You have your aims and your ideals. These will help you picture how you want to be in the nearest future and also what to expect from your would-be mentor. This is very important.
  4. List the places where your mentors are likely to be. This will narrow your search. If you are looking for mentors in your career, you may look within your organization or in similar organizations. If you are into publishing, you may look for people in your publishing company or in other top houses. If you are a student, you may look inside your school or in other schools, or even in your neighborhood.
  5. Be teachable. Cultivate a learning spirit. To get a good mentor, you need to be humble. A haughty or know-it-all attitude will discourage anyone from accepting to mentor you.
  6. Be proactive. Learn all there is to learn about your prospective mentor and his/her interests. This will give you both a common ground to interact as well as show the mentor that you are smart, serious and willing to learn.
  7. Don’t make it sound like work. While approaching a prospective mentor, don’t make their work look like a burden – like they have to babysit and spoon feed you! Make it light and fun and you can be sure that they will accept.
  8. Be polite. Don’t approach a would-be mentor with an attitude of entitlement. You are asking for a favor and it will cost them time, energy and effort, maybe even money. Learn to appreciate that and act accordingly.

Additional tips? Do leave us comments.

Mentorship

Do you have a mentor or are you a mentor? Oftentimes, a mentor is confused with a role model or a parent figure. Let’s look at the definitions of mentors. A mentor can be defined as a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. It can also be defined as a senior sponsor or supporter. A mentor is a more experienced, usually older person, who offers you guidance and advice from time to time in the area in which you choose. A lot of times, mentorship is restricted to career and professional development alone. Truth is, a mentor can be in any area one wants guidance. It may be in personal development, professional development, marital development, child care, health care, you name it! What is important is to determine the area(s) in which mentorship is needed. One may even choose to have more than one mentor because different people are brilliant in different aspects. Moreover, having more than one mentor gives more variety in options, like being at a buffet where you can have a little of everything. Got it? Good!

Who needs a mentor? That’s a good question to ask. Many people think mentors are only for professional people or those wanting to grow their career. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Mentors serve as a guides or compasses in our journey in particular areas of our lives. So whether you are in school, a teacher, a publisher, a book supplier, a student, a chorister etc, you can choose to have a mentor or more.

A mentor is more than someone you look up to or admire from afar. A mentor is someone you have a tangible relationship with. A mentor is an adviser, guide, master and preceptor. A mentor is someone who is willing to share his or her knowledge and experience to help you succeed in life.  When time and effort is expended to develop strong mentorship relationships, the rewards are bountiful. There is access to a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience that would otherwise not have been exposed to. Not only that, it may be an opportunity to have a faithful friend and confidante or even a business partner. The privileges abound.

How does one choose a mentor? We will discuss this in our next post.

On the 39 New Subjects in the WAEC Curriculum

The introduction of thirty-nine new subjects to WAEC in accordance with the curriculum has been raising quite some dust. First, this is a laudable move as it introduces a lot of necessary variety into education. It shows that NERDC (the body responsible for curriculum development) is in touch with reality and recognizes that the old format of education cannot work in this new age.

Also, this development is a step in the right direction because it removes the constraint on students. Instead of the past education system in which students fell into either Sciences or Arts classes, this recent system gives students options of Sciences, Arts, Technology and Business studies, depending on their potential and interest.

However, there are challenges that come with this juicy arrangement. Are there sufficient teachers trained to teach all these subjects in all schools across the federation? Is there a plan to employ more teachers to take these subjects in government schools? What about private schools? Are they also going to employ more teachers or bombard the existing teachers with more work load in unfamiliar areas? Is there a plan to train teachers in order to be able to cope with these new roles?

What about publishers? How are they supposed to meet the book needs this new development has created? Are there enough qualified authors to write these books? Are there enough intellect, manpower and resources to produce textbooks for thirty-nine subjects more? Is there loan available to publishers to enable them produce sufficient books for these subjects?

While we are at it, one may also want to ask why Computer Studies is an elective subject in this computer age. What are you reactions to this?

The Social Responsibility Of Publishers

Books are our windows to the world. They are a vital part of education in all levels. They introduce learning to students and will greatly influence a student’s attitude towards learning. This being said, publishers in Nigeria have the responsibility of providing the best tools for the students. It goes beyond just getting a book published for profit, it is a call for social consciousness to help uplift the state of the nation’s educational system.

First Veritas and other publishing companies should work hand in hand with the government to meet the demands of new learning modalities. It is only when a concerted effort among the stakeholders is achieved that true progress in education can be attained. Our students are a reflection of the nation’s commitment towards education.

10 Advantages of E-Distribution

E-distribution is fast becoming the trend in product distribution. This is because the system offers several advantages that the traditional method does not.

Here goes…

  1. Online distribution is accessible to a lot more customers
  2. Purchase orders are easily acted upon
  3. The manufacturer  or producer has direct communication with the buyer
  4. Distribution cost is lower
  5. Possible shortages and the need for lead times are eliminated
  6. Lesser need for manpower
  7. Payment system is efficient
  8. Total overhead cost is greatly reduced
  9. Market reach is vast and extensive
  10. Generally bigger profit

The major factor that makes online distribution attractive is its direct nature. Middlemen are eliminated and buyers are assured that they are dealing with genuine producers and manufacturers. First Veritas has an e-distribution service where your books can be distributed to over 1000 online retailers.