9 Problems of Book Publishing in Nigeria

Problems of Book Publishing in Nigeria

From the moment a child can speak, they need books to learn more. This is the pattern for all humans until we all expire; we have to keep reading. Books are part of the essentials we need each day. It’s like food for the mind. Surprisingly, the Nigerian publishing industry has been subjected to numerous problems over the years. The effect has reduced the quality and quantity of books produced for the general audience. Books are important for guiding humans in all our activities.

It has often been said that “Readers are Leaders.” Books are identified as the catalyst that speeds up mental growth and development. But with the downward spiral in the volume of books pushed into the system, it will be hard to keep future leaders informed. A problem identified is close to finding its solution. As such, this article will identify the major 9 problems of book publishing in Nigeria.

Problems of book publishing in Nigeria – Financing

One of the greatest problems in publishing books in Nigeria is financing. Book publishing is a task that requires high funding. From editing, proofreading, printing, and circulating it requires a lot of money. There are a few options available for publishers. Most have endlessly searched for funds, without getting anything good. Sadly, financial institutions do not offer publishers loans, unlike other fields. This is because they may end up not getting enough profits, or run at a loss.

As such, it has become a serious problem for publishers to raise enough money to publish their books. This problem has reduced publishers’ operation strength, making it hard for them to publish books for readers.

Government Policies

Governmental policies are another major problem of book publishing in Nigeria. The Nigeria government has not been helping in improving the publishing industry. As such, the activities of publishers are restricted. Lack of proper monitoring and implementation of directives that would have made publishing easier has made many excellent books spend more years at home than in the hand of readers.

For example, the switch in the educational system has greatly impacted the publishing institution. A switch in the system from 6-5-4 to 6-3-3-4 affected the publishing and production of educational books. A recent switch to basic 1 to 9 has again impacted the publishing industry seriously, as it points out that the government does not take both education and publishing of books seriously.

Nigeria Fluctuating Economy

The fluctuating Nigeria economy is another factor that is seriously limiting the success of publishing books in Nigeria. Materials used for printing books are becoming more expensive. Even with that, the tax charged on them is also becoming too much for publishers to shoulder.

Had there been cheap and stable electricity in Nigeria, the cost of production would have been better. But an epileptic power supply, which is also too accompanied with an expensive rate, makes printing with the right equipment hard.

Reading culture

Gone are the days when the reading culture among adults and youths in Nigeria was commendable. The reading culture has now been greatly impacted, thanks to our modern or digital era. Many who now read do that because of their examination or to earn a certificate.

People are no longer reading to improve their knowledge. This has greatly reduced the target audience when writing and publishing books. Without the audience having a good and excellent reading habit, the publishing industry will not grow. Unless Nigerians improve their reading habit, book publishing will soon go under the radar.

Issues of Piracy

Rather than being a problem, piracy is now an institution in the Nigerian publishing industry. This has further reduced the already slim-fitted publisher’s profit. Most booksellers now offer top-selling books at absurd prices as they are made with inferior materials and copied ideas by pirates.

This has improved the sales of pirates, while publishers are left with little reward for their work. The government’s failure to find a solution to piracy, even with the established regulatory agencies, is greatly affecting publishers.

Low infrastructural standards 

The poor and sorry infrastructural standard and condition in Nigeria is seriously impacting the success of publishing. Transporting published books to targets is becoming hard due to the state of the road. The epileptic power supply has reduced the production of books. Top paper mills are now reducing their operation rate or running out of business. Material imported from other countries is delivered at high prices.

Content quality reducing

Gone are the days when books were written only by experts. Such books are carefully prepared, read, and edited. These days, book publishing industries in Nigeria lack the expertise to edit and deliver the right standard for readers. Many writers cannot pay the high fee requested by editors. As such, they publish books that are not up to standard.

Since profits are not that high, many writers and publishers are not interested in greatly investing in their books. They only use the available tools and materials that are not sufficient for top-quality books.


All around the world, the scope and methods used for publishing books are now experiencing significant changes. There are new tools that make publishing faster and easier. These tools have also reduced the cost of production significantly. Sadly, such tools and equipment are not available in Nigeria. Publishing firms are restricted to using these old and less effective equipment. This has made it harder to meet the standards set by other advanced countries.

Issues between authors and publishers

Authors and publishers are expected to work hand in hand, but that is not the case in Nigeria. Authors often feel publishers are making more money than them; they carry the opinion that publishers are cheating them. Publishers often feel that authors sometimes work with pirates to earn more on their books.

Such issues have resulted in less trust and understanding in the industry. As such, most projects do not receive the right push, and they end up on the publishers’ tables.


The major problems of book publishing in Nigeria have been carefully highlighted in this article. Unless a suitable solution is provided, the standards will keep dropping. When humans have very little to read, there will be no way to improve our knowledge. 

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