If there is something the average Nigerian is not interested in, it is books. Most Nigerians only read books for exams. So if you are a book lover like me, then I don’t see you as an average Nigerian. My dad loves books, the day I opened my eyes into this world I saw books. I don’t have any memories about a bookless house.
He has these big shelves, which contains lots of books, on different subjects. I like to window shop for books, so when it comes to bookstores, I can tell you about them. So here, I’ll be telling you the best bookshops to get books from in Nigeria. I have not been to all these bookshops, but I have friends who swear by some of them.
Best Bookshop in Nigeria
1. CMS bookshop in Lagos
This bookstore was opened in Lagos in 1869, (just 8 years after Nigeria became a British colony) it was established by Church Missionary Society Trust, therefore the name CMS. The bookshop was originally established to find and distribute Christian materials, educational and stationery materials. They have their sister bookshops in major cities in the country. This bookshop is located at Bookshop house 50/52, Broad Street 4th Floor. In 1969 the name of the bookshop was changed to CSS bookshops, (Church and School Supplies). This bookshop is easily the oldest bookshop in the city. It stocks religious books, classics, and even children’s books. The bookshop itself and the building housing it are tourism attractions. Whether you see CSS or CMS, just be aware that it is the one and same bookshop.
2. Glendora in Lagos
Those who love to read love this place, but in the past they’ve have not treated Nigerian authors well. That though is a story for another day. If you love to read, then this is a great place to be. And another beautiful thing about this bookstore is that they are on the Lagos Mainland, precisely Ikeja City Mall. At Glendora you can get both contemporary books and classics. They also stock book of Nigerian authors both popular and unpopular. Whenever you go to the mall, just go in and browse, you may find something that catches your attention.
3. Laterna Bookshop Ventures in Lagos
They are located at Oko-Awo close, Eti Osa, Victoria Island. Their range of books includes Bibles, Christian books, Business books and children’s books. For novels you will find some, but that’s not their specialty. They are more into “serious” books. You’ll get a large variety of topics for business books to entrepreneurship to career and finances, the list is almost endless. And for their Christian materials they also have tapes and Christian music. At Laterna you can get really unique stationeries, pens, papers and the likes. That is if you are into writing. There prices are very competitive.
4. Bookville World in Port Harcourt
The first three bookstores are in Lagos, but Bookville is in Port Harcourt. My friend, Emeka a book lover who resides in Port Harcourt swears by Bookville. This is where he buys novels by Nigerian authors. They are located at No 2, Ezimgbu Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria. Bookville World also has a very functional online store. In fact they are the biggest online store in Port Harcourt. They stock a variety of books from academic, to business, to fiction and science and technology. They also stock books for kids and music videos. So if you are a book lover, you can always walk into the bookstore at anytime, or order online. You pay on delivery.
5. TerraKulture in Lagos
TerraKulture is a place for art lovers. That is both written arts and graphic arts. The place boasts a restaurant, an art gallery and even study rooms with free Wifi. At TerraKulture they cater for book lovers across a wide age range. One of the aims of TerraKulture is to promote African literature and improve the reading culture in Nigeria. With these in mind, they boast having a large collection of literature works authored mainly by Nigerians. And they also give book reading in Nigerian languages. If you are a book lover and would also be interested in networking with other book lovers and professionals from other fields. They also have a library section where you can just come in and read. You can order for books online at their website. On weekends they are open until 12:00am, can you beat that?! They are located at Plot 1376, Tiamiyu Savage, off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island Lagos.
6. Florida Bookshop in Owerri
Florida bookshop is in Owerri Imo state, at Ikenegbu layout, just very close to Maris supermarket. I added this bookshop, because it is the biggest bookshop and most popular in that axis. They stock everything thing from Old Shakespearen classics, to modern books. They also have text books, business books and other kind of books ranging from exercise to cookery and many other eccentric subjects. At Florida bookshop you can get stationeries and Christian materials.
7. Zamani Books in Kano
Zamani is one of the biggest and best bookshop and stationery stores in the ancient city of Kano. Established in 1950, it is probably the oldest bookshop on our list, off course next to CSS bookshops. The genre of books one will find here are majorly classics and then works of African writers. The works of non-African contemporary authors are not usually on sale here. The most attractive feature of this pre-colonial bookshop, is the price of the books. They are really very pocket friendly.
8. Jazz Hole in Lagos
If you love arts, music, and then more arts, then you’ll definitely love the Jazzhole, located at Shop No.168, Awolowo road, Falomo, Lagos. This is an offspring of Glendora. They use a three pronged approach to attract people to the store. They sell black arts, books and records, and then at night they hold special Jazz performances. They also offer coffee and tea. Their services here are top notch, and the prices of the books are expensive.
9. Readers are Leaders bookshop Abuja
While this expression is true to a large extent, the name is too long. This store is located, along Obafemi Awolowo way, Jabi FCT. The interior is lit by tastefully picked art pieces. It’s really very beautiful and you’ll love it. They offer educational books, children books, fiction and nonfiction books. Books here though could cost an arm and a leg.
10. The Hub Lagos
At the Hub, they offer many choices for the book lover, from fictional classics, both African and foreign to fictional contemporary, both Africa and foreign. Here there is a section for children and books on many eccentric subjects. Even without having a book in mind, when you walk into this bookstore, it will take some act of self will not too buy beyond your budget. They are located at the Palms Lekki.
Other very good bookstores include Patabah, Sunshine, Amab, Tarbiyah and Bible Wonderland. The last two stores stock a lot of religious books including secular books. So there you have it, the list of the best bookshops in Nigeria.