The Future of Nigerian eBooks (e-Books) By Leesi Ebenezer Mitee
Copyright © Leesi Ebenezer Mitee
eBooks (e-Books) are digital or electronic books. That means they are intangible, existing in the cloud or cyberspace. They may be versions of a physical book or independent virtual entities without a physical companion. eBooks are products of breath-taking developments in information and communications technologies (ICTs), which have progressively reduced the world to a mere global village, nay, a global sitting-room.
Like many developing countries, especially those in Africa, Nigeria lags woefully behind the developed world in terms of the development and application of relevant technology – an unfortunate digital divide. This accounts for why eBooks and virtual libraries are in their infancy in Nigeria – an incontrovertible conclusion drawn from my recent research into the evolution and state of virtual or digital libraries in Nigerian universities (Federal, State, and Private). This is a major reason for the dismal global ranking of Nigerian universities based on all the major indices. Some Nigerian universities do not have functional websites! Tell it not in Gath!
However, the situation with regard to Nigerian eBooks is changing, albeit slowly. That was exactly how mobile phones stated slowly in 2001, but today, Nigerian Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) market has grown to become one of the major and most attractive in the world. Therefore, one need not have Solomonic wisdom to be able to predict that in the nearest future Nigeria will be one of the major eBook markets in the world. There are strong indicators that justify this optimism: the Nigerian Central Bank is committed to evolving a less-cash economy that thrives on electronic transactions (a necessary condition for the eBook market), the Internet usage in Nigeria has improved, and computer literacy and ownership is getting much better.
The realisation of the goal of contributing to the development of the eBook culture in Nigeria is the philosophy underlying the publishing of my books in eBook format. They include the following:
- Laws of the Federation of Nigeria eBook (upcoming);
- Nigerian Constitution eBook: Full Text of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with all Amendments and Annotations (upcoming);
- Nigerian Law of Evidence eBook: Full Text of the Nigerian Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 with Annotations (upcoming);
- Laws of the States of Nigeria, starting with Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria eBook (already available on Amazon eBookstores worldwide, which can be read on the Amazon Kindle, mobile phone, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, other eReaders and PDAs, and the computer, of course).
Many Nigerian authors and publishers are now appreciating the indispensability of eBooks. Surely, I can see over the horizon more than a beacon of hope, indeed a bright future for Nigerian eBooks, exactly the way it happened with GSM. Yes, it will, and very soon, too.
NOTE: Nigerian law eBooks and free access to various articles on diverse aspects of Nigerian law available on the Nigerian Law Resources website (www.nigerianlawresources.com).