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Bambooks unveils mobile app to empower African authors, writers

By Benjamin Alade
31 October 2018   |   2:38 am
A reading subscription service firm, Bambooks has introduced a mobile application that allows users to read an unlimited numbers of books on its platform.

Ugo Okoye

A reading subscription service firm, Bambooks has introduced a mobile application that allows users to read an unlimited numbers of books on its platform.

The app comes in a mobile app and a web application, which allows users to read on their phones, tablets, laptops at any time of the day as long as they have a valid subscription.

Speaking at a cocktail party to unveil the app in Lagos at the weekend, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bambooks, Ugo Okoye, said the app was introduced to basically empower African authors and writers thereby creating a niche for the African/Nigerian reading space.

Okoye said most of the reading platforms out there in the world are focused on mainly on international authors, American and European authors. The likes of amazon, iBook’s and a few of them but there is nothing really for African content, “so we saw a niche there and we decided to talk to authors and some of their associations.”

According to him most of African authors haven’t gone digital, most of them are struggling with the challenges of distributing physical books.“The problem in Nigeria is that we don’t have the infrastructure, bookstores, and libraries everywhere. Most writers and authors have challenge of making money from their books. Some of them wait for years to get it published. The digital platform allows them to monetise their contents overnight. Once they have written their books they can publish with us and readers can start reading immediately and they can start making money and also they never run out of books because it is digital.”

He said: “We launched the website and the mobile web version earlier in the year and we are starting up with that because we wanted to test the market and see if people will read and accept ebooks as a new form of reading. It was a successful test period. We found out that people were interested in African content and they were willing to read on their phones. The challenge on reading on the web is that you need constant Internet access.

“If your Internet goes off, you won’t be able to read the book. That was one of the challenges a lot our customers kept on telling us. In progression from that, we built an app so people can read offline. With the app that we are launching today people can download the books on the app reading it without internet. Internet is a big issue in Nigeria. The beauty of the app is that when you have good internet connection, you can download the book and wherever you are with or without signal or not you can have access to the book. We are excited to build a world class app.”

Speaking on the genre of books on its platform, Okoye said: “Africans have talents for writing, but haven’t been discovered. There are self-help books, entrepreneurial books. The scope is extremely wide, we have philosophy, science and technology, leadership, time and money management books. We try to cover as much as possible fashion, home, beauty and travel. We want to have as much variety as possible books on our app.”

Speaking on traffic, he said: “We are still growing. The time that we launched our web application, which was around February, we started tracking our registration and consumption. Today we are about 20,000 registered users. However, we expect this to get to a 100,000 by the next few months with the relaunch of the app. The 20,000 was like a case study and pilot to study and learn with the last eight months that we launched the app to know the kind of books people want, features they want to see in an app and we look at other world-class application and we feel like our app is just on the same level as they have. It is also user friendly on IOS and android. We have about a 1000 books right now. One of the key problems we are solving is piracy.”

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