Starting a Children's Books Business

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I bought a black doll for my daughter years ago and she rejected it. She preferred her Barbie doll. Barbie doll is a foreign doll and i was a bit upset at the

influence the western culture was having on our own culture and heritage. The fact that my daughter preferred a Barbie doll to a black doll spoke to me. We need to come up with good ideas to set up businesses which preserve or promote our culture while making money and creating jobs. It can be done.

In fact , I think there is a market for such products even in Europe and America where our people are in diaspora. I think we should have some entrepreneurs out there who can write and draw African stories...

There are over 300 000 primary schools in Nigeria. And not too many people are writing books for them to buy for their children.... You can even make colouring books,,,, etc...

With this idea, you will not only be making a great deal of money, you will also be a `custodian of culture` and building a really profitable and socially responsible enterprise.

An average nursery and primary school will have a population of about 200 children. How many schools do you think are in your area ? If you can get just 10 schools to buy from you every term, you can work out how much you can make... And you will be doing what you love. Almost every street has a nursery school in lagos nigeria.

You could even get corporates to advertise in the books.

Its quite unfortunate that these days when you listen to children sing or tell each other stories ,their stories have foreign themes. You hear kids say things like `Susan and sally... Jack and Jill... These are not African names nor do they present African themes . Our culture is slowly fading and there is a huge business opportunity here. A very huge one for a person who has an interest in writing or drawing.

You write , publish and market children`s story books or activity books. These could range from short story books with illustrations to simple picture colouring books .

You have to be someone who has a keen interest in this sort of work. Writing is not really easy. children have a totally different way of seeing things so you need to understand children and their syntax. The way you will communicate with an adult is certainly very different from the way you will communicate with a child. You also need to be able to get very good drawings and illustrations in your books. If you are not good at drawing or painting, you need to hook up with someone who can. The brighter your books the more memorable the images and the more effective your communication will be. The main things you need are a keen interest and the skills to write and draw such a way that children can understand you.

Can you give me a good reason why children will not read story books ? There are not enough African based children story books around. In fact, the market is still TOTALLY untapped. This is quite sad actually because it is such a key area of our national development. Schools and parents have no choice but to buy imported books. This is an indirect way of importing a foreign culture. These days when you tell children to draw , you will see that they will draw people with long hair .. Not African. This is because that is what they see on television and also in their books.

Writing a book that will sell is not an easy task. For you to endure, you really need to be good. Very good. Getting to this level is a function of passion. And your willingness to do research and understand children and their needs. Publishing for children is very difficult because the books you create for them MUST EDUCATE THEM as a primary objective. Children are already good at entertaining themselves. It is the learning that is needed. And the market is huge. It should not just be about the money, it should also be about interest.

Marketing is another challenge you will have to circumvent. Its quite tough selling new things to people. but you have to be persistent. You will probably do a great deal of work before you see results but when you see the results, you will be like the guy who caught many fish and had to call his friends to help out.

Think hard. You really need to be ready for this line of work. Talk to heads of local schools. Set up your title or titles. Identify the issues the topic addresses. This is your marketing leverage. Get a list of schools you may want to contact and plan your sales presentations. Use the internet exhaustively. Pray.

Think about setting up events for kids. This can be a rallying point to promote your brand. Identify a brand name or a brand identity that you want to be known with. For example ladybird books, lantern books, Enid Blyton , discovery series etc. Give complimentary copies to schools and pay complimentary visits to all your core markets. Visit Sunday schools in churches. This is a good place to sell too. Talk to your friends and colleagues who are parents. Charity will be more profitable to begin at home.

There are tremendous opportunities in this sector especially now that there is great concern about the fall in the desire to read among the children today. If you are indeed a creative and dynamic person, you could make a great deal of money. I have a friend in ibadan, Nigeria who publishes and sells alphabet colouring books and markets under her own business name directly to nursery schools. She has about 60 schools on her client list now and admits that the client list is this small because she does not want to grow beyond what she can easily manage which will also allow her to care for her young children. She sells an average of 250 books to each of the 60 schools. Do the math. assuming she makes 200 profit form each book.

You can start this business with as little as N 100. 000.

Read 1009 times Last modified on Monday, 04 May 2015 15:12
Tayo Aroloye

He is the founder of the B.Y.O.B initiative with decades of experience on how small businesses start and grow. He is very passionate about entrepreneurs and how entrepreneurs are able to move from idea into viable businesses.

1 comment

  • Comment Link vivian ngo Oct 30 2015 posted by vivian ngo

    It is one thing to have ideas and another thing to start and another not to be challenged by the challenge of the business


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