Access to culture and cultural heritage, empowers and emancipates citizens as well as brings people together; reading and writing guarantee this. GBEMI SHASORE, MD/CEO Mainevents & director of Quramo Publishing Limited (QPL) in this interview with STEPHEN ONYEKWELU highlights how to make quality books accessible to both children and adults. Excerpts:
What is publishing about?
A publisher guides you from when you have a concept, to content development through editing to the market. Editing, which is a vital part of publishing helps bring structure to an author’s concept. Publishers guide you through conceptualisation to commercialisation, depending on who the author’s target audience is. Your publisher seasons the content, fries and presents it to the public. Some people have stories to tell they don’t even know about, we help them discover this. Printing is the final stage and you could be a publisher without owning a printing press.
Who is Quramo Publishing Limited (QPL)?
Quramo publishing is an independent publishing company committed to producing the highest quality content for our various audiences. Our goal is to publish a range of titles from cultural history to contemporary fiction and nonfiction as well as academic and specialised work; works that preserve the stories of significant events and instil the spirit of their time.
How have the recent FX policies impacted your business?
With regards to the foreign exchange (FX) policies many of our books are printed in Nigeria and some are printed overseas. It depends on what the client wants. Ours is to guide them. If a potential author came with a book idea, there are two options: the author either sources funds themselves or we could partner with them in order to bring about the best possible product. This could be in the form of an e-book or print, the print version could be either hard cover or paper back.
Given the current digital revolution how is it changing the face of publishing?
The digital revolution is a moving train that cannot be stopped. If you can’t beat them, join them. We take e-publishing seriously but we also believe an eventual return to printed books is possible.
How are you promoting reading culture among Nigerians?
Our overriding ambition at QPL is to bring books to both public and private schools, since only children in private schools get to have access to quality story books. Children in public schools by this initiative would have access to a semblance of quality education. Reading expands your horizon and it is sad that pupils in public schools are short changed in this regard. Access to quality books improves communication skills. You can travel the world through books, you will learn about Togo, Ghana, South-Africa, Zimbabwe and lots more through books.
We launched QPL’s The Young Reader’s Literary Morning (YRLM), as part of a broader initiative calledRead More, to foster reading and the extended benefits of improved literacy among children. This effort has the long term objective of being part of the push to raise 61 percent literacy level of Nigerian adults by targeting children in primary and secondary schools.
QPL believes that a literate child will be an improved adult; a future asset to a nation and its development agenda. This noble ideal begins from the seemingly simple task of fostering a love of books and reading in our children.
The YRLM hosts ‘edutainment’ for children in the form of debates, book readings and scene enactments from our Mango Books at host schools and will culminate in essay competitions among participating schools.
What are some of the labels under Quramo publishing?
Our main imprint is the Q Books, which focuses on contemporary nonfiction stories based on modern history. We want to tell significant stories about moments and events that changed and shaped our lives. These events may be political, historical, or based on the emergence of key sectors. We want to record history as it happens. One product of this label is ‘Possessed’ by Olasupo Shasore, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). It is a historical account of how Lagos was occupied by the British from 1861 – 1906 and it was on Channels TV readers’ club book list of most important books.
We have Mango Books, which features stories for children between the ages of 3 and 17, and genres from young adult fiction to educational, non-fictional and historical text. We are keen on telling African stories that preserve culture and history which will also entertain, educate and inspire children. Here we have two books written by foreign authors, one Kenyan and the other South-African
Q Life is our inspirational imprint. Our focus is on books written from a religious or spiritual perspective; providing both fiction and nonfiction African stories. Q Life books look to inspire and uplift the reader.