The Book – A valuable resource! | Dailytrust

The Book – A valuable resource!

April 23rd of every year is marked around the world as ‘World Book and Copyright Day.’ Also known as ‘International Day of The Book,’ it is a Day set aside by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing and copyright. The first ‘World Book Day’ was observed on April 23, 1995.

The theme of this year’s (2021) ‘World Book Day’ is: to ‘share a story.’ This year’s theme is in response to the coronavirus pandemic, encouraging children to share a story with those that they live with. The day aims to change lives through a love of books and shared reading.

The Book is a dynamic product and a monumental property of every society. It is a veritable source of information to teachers and students, a goldmine of knowledge for researchers and scholars, and a fountain of pleasure and leisure to general readers.

More than ever, at a time when many of the schools around the world are closed and people are having to limit their time spent outside, the power of books should be leveraged to combat isolation, reinforce ties between people, expand our horizons, while stimulating our minds and creativity. It is critical to take the time to read on our own, or with our children.

According to Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO: “Books have the unique ability to entertain and to teach. They are at once a means of exploring realms beyond our personal experience through exposure to different authors, universes and cultures, and a means of accessing the deepest recesses of our inner selves.”

However, in the last two decades, the Nigerian indigenous book publishing industry has experienced a downturn due to numerous challenges facing the industry, including piracy, the proliferation of unqualified author-publishers, lack of capital, and inability to provide adequate numbers of high-quality books.

To address these challenges, there is the need for stakeholders such as the government, publishers, authors, regulators, booksellers, libraries and readers to cooperate towards the development of a virile book publishing industry.

Private investors such as banks, finance houses and influential individuals should participate, especially in terms of massive capital injection while the government can partner with notable non-governmental organisations to establish book clubs in our schools across the nation to promote a good reading culture among the youths.

Government should also help to eliminate the scourge of book piracy and reduce import duties on printing and publishing equipment.

Existing public libraries should be rehabilitated and upgraded, while new ones should be built and equipped with relevant titles.

 

Daniel Ighakpe lives in FESTAC Town, Lagos

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