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Publishers lament poor reading culture, industry challenges

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The Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), yesterday, lamented poor reading culture in the country, saying Nigerians no longer read to improve knowledge but to earn certificates and pass their examinations.

Describing books as ‘veritable tool for human and national development’, it stated that the quality of books in a country was equal and direct representation of its quality of education, stressing that no educational system could rise above the quality of its books.

President and Chairman-in-Council of NPA, Uchenna Cyril Anioke, who stated this on the sidelines of this year’s Book and Copyright Day with the theme: Share A Story, said Nigerians inability to read had greatly shrank audience target in book publishing and would impede national development on the long run.

He stressed that Nigerians must return to a viable reading culture to build an enduring nation.

Highlighting the importance of books to human development, he stated that humanity and books have a relationship that dated back to antiquity, adding however, that if the relationship was not productive, both parties would have parted ways for long.

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“Again, without books, the quest for knowledge and education will go into extinction. We need to bring within the periphery of our consciousness that science is cumulative in nature. This means that no scientific study stands or walks alone. Every bit of innovation is a pile up of previous existing body of knowledge. Books are the custodian and warehouse of these bodies of knowledge.

“Books play important roles in the peoples socialisation process. Babies are the weakest in the animal world. They cannot eat or do anything by themselves, but a child can differentiate a doctor from a lawyer in paintings in a book even at very tender age.

“By this, children are gradually socialised into professions and how to behave towards each profession.”

The same plays out in other human endeavours like politics, commerce, and sports.”

“Books can only achieve these noble objectives if there is high level of literacy of citizens coupled with a sound reading culture. Books are large-scale literary compositions, which serve as a source of information or sphere of human endeavor,” he said.

Anioke, however, lamented that poor reading culture, finance, piracy, epileptic nature of government policies, infrastructure decay and illiteracy have continued to challenge books and publishing industry in the country.

“Nigeria is lagging behind in the production of machines needed for books publishing. Publishers import almost all the machines they need to aid them in production of books and the deplorable condition of the naira when compared to the like dollar and pound sterling is not helping matters,” he added.

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