Ghana’s reading culture is said to be improving gradually, but industry players have been challenged to employ creative means of encouraging the public to purchase more books and read.
In a conversation with the host of The Lounge, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, Ghanaian author, Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng suggested that one of the ways through which the country could experience an upsurge in its reading culture is by “recalibrating how we push the product [books] out there onto the market.”
He indicated that following the launch of his fourth book, ‘Faceoff with the International MP’, he together with his team decided to do direct deliveries, both personally and through distributors to interested readers.
This practice, he said, has resulted in an impressive request from Ghanaian readers albeit the little cost attached to it.
“If you create a system where it is easier for people to access books rather than keep them on the shelf and then just forget about it expecting that people will find somewhere to park in the crazy traffic, walk and buy your book, I think then you have to understand that every consumer wants convenience and that’s why people who sell on the streets make money because you can actually shop from your car,” he explained.
He again pointed out that good books naturally attract readers. “I think that if the material available is good quality, there will be a market for it. In the 80s we had a lot of African writers…and the quality was there and you knew you could get a good book. You actually read because you know you will enjoy it. If there is good quality material, it will draw people.”
Another Ghanaian author, Kofi Akpabli advocated for reading activations and attractive libraries.
“When you have a book that is published and the book is sent to the bookshop and it sits on the shelf without any activation, without any event on that book; it won’t attract people to buy and read,” he said.
“We don’t have libraries that are attractive. Have you seen any library that is so attractive that a young couple can say let’s go there this Saturday?” he asked.
On his part, renowned Ghanaian author, Nana Awere Damoah called for more investment within the sector.
“The reading culture is not really changing quickly but I think that if we want to see results, we need to invest some more and that is why we have been doing our ‘Read-athon’. We don’t believe that you’d get your results in a year, two years or three years. I think we are getting there but it’s still early days yet. We need the publishing industry also to pick up because it’s a whole continuum – it’s an ecosystem,” he explained.
The Lounge with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo airs live on Starr FM every Friday from 7pm to 8pm and on GHOne TV on Sundays from 8pm to 9pm.