Name: Kolapo Ogungbile
Name of Company: Talking Bookz
Founded by Nigerian entrepreneurs Kolapo Ogungbile and Damilola Aransiola, Talking Bookz is one of the 1000 startups that will participate in the highly acclaimed Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
Talking Bookz CEO, Kolapo Ogungbile is quoted as saying “TalkingBookz seeks to disrupt the traditional book publishing market and redefine how Africans consume books”.
This is great news for African authors, as it provides an accessible opportunity to reach and tap into a global audio book market, while users will be able to access African authored books in audio format, which is something that has never been available.
We catch up with Kolapo Ogungbile to discuss book publishing in Nigeria, entrepreneurship and what the future holds for audio book publishing in Nigeria and Africa.
How to Provide Accessible Online Audio Book Publishing in Nigeria
Joseph: Can you introduce Talking Bookz, the idea and concept as if I knew nothing about the product and its market?
KOLAPO: Talking Bookz is the first company providing accessible online audio book publishing in Nigeria and African. We provide access to unique African content and 3000+ international bestsellers.
Our value proposition is to make reading convenient for people and also create alternative revenue for authors and publishers.
An audio book is a great way to multitask; you can listen while Driving, exercising, commuting or if you just want to relax. It’s an amazing way to read books.
Africa has widely known literacy issues, busy schedules, and experiencing a rapid Increase in the use of mobile internet users, Talking bookz is set to transform the way Africans access books.
We believe the future of reading is listening and the time to start it is now!
Joseph: The Amazon Story and Talking Bookz story, what is the clear distinction?
Joseph: Do you believe the African Market is ready for such a concept and what has been the feedback so far?
KOLAPO: Audio books are still a new concept in Africa. However, we as Africans know the value of reading and Education and how it can transform us as a people and a continent. All we need is the right product that will give us convenience, and effective methods to learn, which is what Talking Bookz is all about.
By putting out the right kind of awareness and quality products, the need for audiobooks will grow and drive the adoption.
The feedback has also been amazing from a range of customers with different needs. We have customers who are completely illiterate, as well educated professionals who have realised that they can now read books on the go by listening despite their busy schedule.
By retailing books online and making them downloadable, we also avoid some of the issues with book publishing in Nigeria.
Joseph: How soon do you intend to expand your services to benefit the entire continent?
KOLAPO: We are already having on going conversations with publishers in Ghana and South Africa. We plan to publish books from these countries, and in these countries by 2016.
Joseph: What have been some of the challenges you have encountered so far?
KOLAPO: Due to the specific technical requirements of our products, it was a challenge finding the right technical partner and developer on the team.
Joseph: What business ethics have contributed to your success so far?
KOLAPO: I’m a big believer in honesty, and being upfront at all time. When working in such an industry you have to always be clear, and not be afraid to tell it like it is.
Joseph: What other innovate product can we expect from Talking Bookz in the near future?
KOLAPO: We are passionate about transforming Education, so you can expect more innovative products from us in the education space.
Joseph: How did you raise startup capital and how do you continue to fund the company?
KOLAPO: Like a lot of African startups we raised a lot of our initial startup capital from family and friends, and leveraged the great resources and information provided by Passion Incubator network.
Joseph: What advice would you give to other young African entrepreneurs?
KOLAPO: Be passionate about what you do and don’t lose focus of your goals, even when there is no money and no business, don’t stop because success can be round the corner.
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