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Okechukwu Ofili: My Beef With Nigerian Bookstores Especially Silverbird

By on October 11, 2012


A wise man once told me, do not speak or write when you are angry. ok I lied, a wise man never told me that ish[sic]….I read it on the Internet some time ago when I was searching for crap to kill time with.

Nonetheless it is very good advise, because when you are angry you can write ish[sic] that you will regret…so I am probably going to regret this article I am about to write. But I have to write it because I am sick and tired of getting robbed by Nigerian bookstores. Bookstores who take your books, sell your books and then give you the run around for your own money…frustrating you to the point that you succumb to their bureaucracy and forget about your books and payment.

In reality forgetting about the money is what I have considered doing for a while. Which means ignore my anger and act as if everything is ok…but everything is not ok! I am sick sick sick. Sick and tired of scratching recharge cards and calling bookstores only to receive stories such as madam is not around, call back in 2 weeks (which occurs exactly 2 weeks after being told that same phrase), our manager just got fired, our manager is not around or the classic: I thought we had paid you already.

I have heard so many excuses, that I am half waiting for a book titled: THE EXCUSES: How To Steal Money From Nigerian Authors By Creating Stories. written by ________ bookstore!

Sadly, I realized that If I publicly expressed how I truly felt about this situation my books might never appear at those bookstores ever again…but then I realized that If I didn’t speak up, they would continue with their silent robbery and keep stealing from authors, while living under the false pretense that they are doing us a favor. And then I can imagine that little girl with dreams of making a living as an author having to deal with the whole bureaucratic nonsense all over again. So I decided to step forward and speak up against the silent robbery going on daily in some Nigerian bookstores.

I call the robbery silent because you don’t realize that you are being robbed. These stores make you write letters and letters before they take your books, then they charge you anywhere from 30 to 40 percent on all sales made. But when they are done selling the books that you marketed yourself, they will keep silent. The only way to know that you have any money is to stalk call or visit them. And when you do make contact, they put you on a bureaucratic spin of robbery through frustration. They make you call and call, visit and visit and then tell you tons of stories but you never see your money just excuses. Their whole strategy is that if enough authors get the run around, they will end up getting frustrated and giving up thus making the bookstores a cool 100 percent profit on their books. They might deny it, but this is exactly what they do whether indirectly or directly. Which is why the robbery is silent, you don’t know it is occurring but overtime you start to realize, that if you are this frustrated there are surely 30-40 authors out there who have given up on collecting their money. The culmination of monies given up is where the silent but deadly robbery occurs.

So I said enough! I will not keep quite again. I will speak up against bookstores, especially the management of those stores…

Number one on this list of silent robbery are the folks of Silverbird bookstores. No one does a better job at silent robbery than Silverbird. I often take great pride in saying that my books are in Silverbird Port-harcourt, Lagos, Abuja and Ghana…people like to hear that…what they don’t know is that I am being owed over N250,000 in sold books from all 4 stores combined and anywhere from  6-12 months overdue! To this date Port-Harcourt (finally made first payment 2 weeks ago) and Ghana are yet to pay a dime…I take that back…a kobo for any books supplied to them.

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