23 Jun 2014

Ezim Osai vs The Book-spaces of Lagos



I have to say that I was genuinely enthused when my editor gave me the assignment to review a couple of book-spaces in Lagos. Since the beginning of my Work study, I have not had the opportunity to explore Lagos as much as I would have wanted to but this assignment gave me such an opportunity.

Perhaps you need a book to read and you aren’t one of us e-readers and prefer the traditional print book. Perhaps you just want to shop and treat yourself to some books; perhaps you need a quiet cozy place with internet facilities to write that story or paper or code or whatever awesome thing you want to do; there is a place for you just around the corner of your street.


LITCAF:

Official Hours: 8am – 9pm (Monday – Saturday)
LitCaf (which is short for Literary Café) is a quiet, cozy library and workspace located on the first floor of the E-Centre (Ozone Cinemas), Sabo-Yaba, Lagos. LitCaf is an ideal environment for reading and also for working as the space is equipped with WiFi. LitCaf is however not free to the public but several plans exist to cater to the needs of different sets of individuals.

Daily: N1, 000
14 Days: N5, 000
Monthly: N9, 800
3 Months: N25, 000

I think what I love most about LitCaf is the serenity of the environment and the appeal of the ambience and also the manager, Mr. Tope Apoola was really nice and professional; I can very well see myself writing a short story there *smiles*. What I don’t like however is the fact that the prices are a bit on the high side and the space is a bit small in area. I was also interested to know that the management is also working on a record keeping program for newspapers and articles from the past and will share them with us when it is done. That being said, I give my rating as: 8/10! LitCaf is truly a place worth seeing.
You can read more about LitCaf on their website here.


OFFICE MALL:

Office Mall is a small cozy bookstore with just your basic selection of books. For bookstores, we made a checklist of books we expected to see and Office Mall fared quite well. The books:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Available
There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe: Unavailable
The Lion and the Jewel (or other works) by Wole Soyinka: Available
American fiction (one of Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Stephen King, Dan Brown or Robert Ludlum): Available
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: Available
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell : Available
48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: Available
Art of War by Sun Tzu: Available
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela: Available
Bibles: Available
Koran: Unavailable
Encyclopedias and dictionaries: Unavailable

Office Mall is very well lit and very well arranged such that finding books is relatively easy. What I love most about Office Mall is the arrangement and lighting; what I do not like however is the very poor customer service and basic collection of books. My rating: 6/10! Office Mall is a good bookstore, but certainly nothing special.

Office Mall is located on the ground floor of the E-Centre (Ozone Cinemas), Sabo-Yaba, Lagos. We were not allowed to take pictures.



PATABAH:

Official Hours: 9am – 7pm (Monday – Saturday)

Allow me to say that Patabah is the bomb! It is located at shop B18 Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall, Surulere, Lagos. Patabah which was established in 1987 is without a doubt one of the best stocked and most organized bookstores in Lagos. With a wide selection of books and a lot of ‘special’ sections, as well as wonderful customer service and a functional website, our visit to Patabah was a fun-filled one. We found out some cool things about the bookstore viz:

Patabah has audiobooks, a Young Adult section, a lot of 50 Shades of Grey *poker face*, a lot of How To (DIY) Books, Cook Books, Health, Fitness and Relationships, Self-help, as well as Parenting and Family. The Prices in Patabah are not exactly cheap but certainly not exorbitant and there are a few discount sales. Official discount is 10% on purchases above N50, 000 (ridiculous, I know) and there is also a great selection of African and Nigerian books which was very interesting to observe.

Another interesting thing to note is that Patabah has book meetings where the authors of some books come to talk about them to the public and answer questions; so far (according to the attendant) they have hosted Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta and Tunde Leye amongst others. The book meetings happen once a month.
For our checklist we had

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Available
There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe: Available
The Lion and the Jewel (or other works) by Wole Soyinka: Available
American fiction (one of Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Stephen King, Dan Brown or Robert Ludlum): Available
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: Available
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell: Available
48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: Unvailable
Art of War by Sun Tzu: Available
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela: Available
Bibles: Available
Koran: Unavailable
Encyclopedias and dictionaries: Available

I easily give Patabah a rating of 8/10! And name it The Best Bookstore on the Lagos Mainland!
You can visit their website here.
Or tweet at them @PatabahBooks .

GLENDORA (ICM Branch):

Official Hours: 9am – 8pm (Monday – Saturday)

Now, as it so happens, Glendora has a number of branches spread out across Lagos and one in Abuja as well. We however visited the branch at Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja, Lagos, and that is what our review is based on.

The first thing we noticed about Glendora was the fact that there seemed to be no arrangement or compartmentalization of the books, and on closer inspection, we found that the books were arranged in alphabetical order (really, who does that?). What I love most about Glendora is the fact that it’s a bit spacious and that it has a VERY wide selection of comic books and also that the reception was quite warm; what I do not like however is the fact that Glendora is not air-conditioned (or perhaps it was turned off when we were there) and that the prices are a bit on the high side.

For book availability,

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Available
There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe: Unavailable
The Lion and the Jewel (or other works) by Wole Soyinka: Available
American fiction (one of Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Stephen King, Dan Brown or Robert Ludlum): Available
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: Unavailable
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell: Unavailable
48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: Unavailable
Art of War by Sun Tzu: Available
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela: Unavailable
Bibles: Available
Koran: Unavailable
Encyclopedias and dictionaries: Available

Glendora ICM branch was pretty cool and so my rating is 7/10!
You can learn some more about them from their pretty cool website here. 

TERRA KULTURE:

Official Hours: 9am – 10pm (Monday – Sunday)

1376 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Terra Kulture Bookshop is basically an African/Nigerian oriented bookshop where most of their collection is on indigenous Nigerian and African books. While the bookshop is a bit small, there is a good selection of African work in it. What I like about Terra Kulture is the fact that they are devoted to promoting African work, especially Nigerian; what I do not like is the fact that it is a bit difficult to find and that the prices are quite high. Terra Kulture also has monthly book meetings.

For book availability on our checklist:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Available
There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe: Unavailable
The Lion and the Jewel (or other works) by Wole Soyinka: Available
American fiction (one of Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Stephen King, Dan Brown or Robert Ludlum): Available
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: Unavailable
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell: Unavailable
48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: Unavailable
Art of War by Sun Tzu: Unavailable
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela: Available
Bibles: Unvailable
Koran: Unavailable
Encyclopedias and dictionaries: Available

All in all, Terra Kulture is pretty neat and so I’ll rate them 7/10!
Their bookshop website is here.
Their main website is here.


THE HUB:

Official Hours: 8am – 8pm (Monday – Sunday)

First Floor, The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki, Lagos.

Without a shred of doubt, I can say that The Hub is the best bookstore in Lagos! With a very wide collection of books, awesome aesthetics and arrangement, proper compartmentalization and wonderful customer service, it tops my list without a doubt. There are so many cool sections like the Graphic Novels and Comics Section,Cookery, Careers, Animals, Children and even a Lego playground (0.0). Not to mention the fact that they have quite a number of 3-in-1 bundle sales (3 novels for N2, 000 for adults and 3 books for N1, 000 for children). 

There is also a little section where a buyer can proof-read his book before buying to see if it is what he is looking for.

The Hub also partners with schools and organizations to supply books and discounts are given to workers of such organizations and their family members. According to the store manager, a book meeting for kids is beginning this month to interest children in the world of books while their parents do their shopping.

After hearing stuff like this, one would expect exorbitant prices for their books, but The Hub actually has the cheapest books among all the bookstores we visited; needless to say that all the books on our list were available at The Hub and at very good prices, too. What I love most about The Hub is the variety of books and the very spacious aesthetic arrangement; what I do not like however, is that the bookstore is a bit far.

My rating of The Hub is 9/10! Anybody who loves books and does not mind a bit of a journey this is the place for you to go!
Reach them online here.

I want to say a very big thank you to Deaduramilade Tawak (@deaduramilade) for being my chaperone on the Lagos mainland (look forward to doing karaoke with you some other time), and That Chioma Girl (@Omaaa__) for being my chaperone on the island and saving me from getting lost more than a few times (I’ll still beat you in Mortal Kombat any day); and to Edwin, my editor for giving me this assignment. Finally, to Mr. Segun Sobulo, the man who brought us all together and who was very supporting of our endeavor.

That’s it from us at 9JEducation,

Hello.

Ezim Osai

03. June. 2014


Lagos.

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