Very few tasks are as exciting as book shopping. The edible smell of printed pages, the feel of crisp paper between my fingers and the sight of book cover art: these are a few of my favorite things. Add browsing through an online bookstore or a traditional bookshop to that list.
Before I learned of the fantastic online booksellers in the African continent, I used to put off buying books until there was a book fair or a literary festival. Don’t blame me: I was sick and tired of visiting bookstores only to find dusty copies of old titles. Not that I have anything against old titles, sometimes favorite classics need to be replaced (so I do buy old titles, occasionally).
However, most book lovers, like me, have confessed to being tired of reading the popular authors from America and Europe. In fact, some of them complained they’d read all the James Hadley Chase, Mario Puzo, Dan Brown, and Danielle Steel titles. It irks them to have booksellers offering these titles. They want to read eclectic literature written by witty storytellers from different continents.
Buy Books Online in Africa
Whether you are looking to purchase the best nonfiction about African history or you want to read the best African novels of all time, the bookstores on this list are the best places to look. This is not to say that you can’t find the best of Russian, British, Asian, or American literature in most of these bookstores. You’ll be surprised by the diversity of their lists.
My list will focus on bookshops that offer a wide range of titles at an affordable rate. They also offer bargains, options for online purchases and home delivery services. If like me, you’ve been dying to visit a bookstore with fast turnover, diverse stocks and reasonable prices, then you’ll want to read my list of top 10 most reliable African booksellers.
The Magunga Bookstore
Run by Magunga Williams and Abigail Arunga, this bookstore is home to diverse titles from all over Africa. They stock a rich collection of both traditionally published and self-published literature from all over the continent. The CEO’s goal is to make African literature more accessible and to build platforms between writers and readers.
This online pan-African bookshop is very interactive. Books are organized by region and genre; this makes it easier for visitors to sort through titles. For instance, if you’ve created a reading list that features literature from every African country, the Magunga Bookstore will make it easy for you to find the books you want.
Because Magunga specializes in selling only African literature, they are a good place to buy some quality North African and Arabic literature. Visit this pan-African online bookshop, if your reading list features North African writers like Nawal el-Saadawi, Tarek al-Tayeb, Habib Selmi, Leila Marouane and Ibrahim al-Koni.
Customers can also set up an account, create a wish-list, order books and benefit from discounted titles. It’s pretty much an African version of Amazon or the Guardian UK. At Magunga, you can only buy new books.
If you want to read the best African novels or the most inspirational nonfiction on the African continent, the Magunga Bookstore is the place to go. Click here to join the community of writers and readers on the Magunga Bookstore. You can get updates on new titles and book deals, if you follow them on twitter: @MagungaBooks and Facebook: The Magunga Bookstore. Feel free to send orders from anywhere in the world and they’ll deliver.
2. The BookdealerNG
The first time I visited the Book Dealer NG, I knew this was the kind of bookstore that could get a book lover hooked. Apart from its efficient search engine, it has a good number of extra features. For instance, if you can’t find the book of your choice, you can make a request and trust that they’ll deliver it at your mailing address. Isn’t that wonderful?
As a parent, I always have a hard time finding a wide range of children’s literature suitable for African children. The bookdealerng has filled this gap, so adults might consider visiting her amazing bookshop to order gift copies for kids.
You can also find a long list of writing opportunities and objective book reviews.
To order mint copies, or get book deals and bargains, visit the bookdealerng or click HERE., Alternatively, you can follow on twitter @thebookdealerng. They make deliveries to customers within the continent and beyond, so feel free to send those international orders.
Okadabooks is arguably the first largest online marketplace in the African e-book industry. Founded by Okechukwu Ofili, this bookstore helps budding and professional writers publish and sell their ebooks to a wide range of audience. Okechukwu Ofili is the author of many books, including Afro: The Girl With the Magic Hair. You can read a review of Afro on the amazing Twinki blog.
Recently independent and traditional publishers began publishing their titles on the okadabooks platform. The Ankara books titles can be found in this eclectic bookstore too. This means you can find the electronic version of my debut novel, Finding Love Again.
Thanks to Okadabooks, many authors have published their books and made them available to the world. The CEO has also organized writing contests alongside the almighty GT bank and Union Bank. The management of okadabooks is always coming up with new ways to improve the lives f writers and avid readers. You can learn more about buying and selling books on Okadabooks via their Instagram and Twitter page: @okadabooks.
CNA is a South African based online bookstore; it isn’t an acronym for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, lest you assume that it is owned by the Nigerian literary icon. Founded in 1896, CNA is one of the oldest bookstores in Africa. They offer South Africans the very best in Academic texts, African and non-African literature.
What makes them unique is:
- They deliver gifts directly to the recipients. If you intend to give out the books as gifts, CNA can wrap and deliver them on your behalf.
- Their open refund and exchange policy. If, for some reason, you decide to return the book you bought, they will refund you or allow you to exchange the copy for another. This explains why they have so many positive customer feedbacks.
CNA is currently having their spring clearance sales, so you might want to hurry over to their site to purchase children’s books and adult books at a discount. For more information, follow them on twitter @CNAInspired, or simple click HERE.
5. African Books Collective
Africa Books Collective is more like a unique bookselling cooperative. It is owned by its seventeen founding publishers. Its five-member council management represents the collective in the wider book and publishing world within and beyond Africa.
I have listed ABC mainly because they are one of the few online bookshops that stock Central African and North African titles. The African Book Collective is one of the bookstores you should visit if you’re looking to buy some North African literature by renowned authors like Tayeb Salih, Mohamed Choukri, Yusuf Idris, Ibrahim Aslan Assia Djebar.
Beyond Arabic and Central African literature, they also stock fine poetry and short story collections as well as books on African history, memoirs and lots more. You really want to vast this UK-registered bookseller. You’ll be amazed at the wide range of titles they have.
The African Books Collective is a not-for-profit bookseller. However, the publishers on their list make profits from book sales. Visit their website to place orders. To learn more about ABC, click HERE.
6. Bookville World
Like most of the online bookstores I know, Bookville World is a fledgeling online retail bookshop. They feature diverse titles. They feature the everything you might want to read; be it children’s books, motivational and self-help books, religious texts, and of course, the best literature from all over the world. And yes, they stock all the Ankara press titles too, so you can find my debut novel too. What more can a book lover ask for?
It’s a good place for collectors to browse and shop. If you are interested in parenting, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, tech or astrology, Bookville has all you need. And if you have a love for crafts and DVDs, BW is a good place to look.
They have a lively physical bookshop in Port Harcourt too. Bibliophiles in the south and East need not worry about ordering books from the far West. Wondering where, in the Southern part of Nigeria you can have a book reading, give Bookville World a look. It is actually strategically located off Stadium road.
They just concluded their August Bookfair. If you missed that, do not despair. You can take advantage of their huge clearance sale. Hurry over to their site to buy discounted copies of your favourite titles.
To place your orders, send them direct messages on Twitter @Bookvilleworld. Learn more about Bookville World HERE
7. 1k Bookstand
Sometimes, my budget can only accommodate discounted copies of my favourite titles. Only a few bookstores have options for people who are living on low budgets. The 1k Bookstand is one of them. Students, unemployed writers and other book buyers will be glad to find brand new books being sold at 1,000 naira (approximately $3).
Based in Nigeria, this thrift bookstore offers used books that are still in good condition. The exciting thing is that the books are offered at very low prices. Like I said earlier, I am in love with bookstores that offer secondhand copies.
They also buy fairly-used books from bibliophiles. If you’re relocating far away or can’t find space for your books, consider offering them to the 1k Bookstand. Don’t be deterred by geographical constraints. Contact them to see if they can buy from and/or sell to you.
It’s easy to reach this bookseller to buy used copies of genre fiction, timeless classics and African literature. You can place your orders through a direct message on Twitter @1kbookstand and Instagram. Alternatively, click HERE.
8. Ides Of March
First, I love the unconventional name of this bookstore. It is quite creative and memorable. Fans of Shakespearean plays have probably deduced that the name was culled from the play, Julius Ceasar.
Founded by Kenyan bibliophile, Angela Wahito Wanjiku, this diverse online retail bookshop is fast becoming popular among readers. Like most African bookstores, the goal is to create a platform for writers and readers. This is good news for African writers who have been struggling to get their books into readers’ hands.
If you’re on a mission to read books from every part of the African continent, visit the Ides of March. They might make your search easier.
They offer a wide range of titles from all over the world. So if you want to order the latest Harper Lee, Diana Tartt, A.J Fixy and Fiona Barton, they’ve got you. Feel free to order children’s books, academic texts and other kinds of books.
The Ides of March offers the best of the best from the African continent and beyond. Apart from the online bookstore, they also sell books at literary events and festivals. When next you’re attending a book fair, look out for them.
Visit to learn more about the Ides of March bookstore.
9. Exclusive Books
Exclusive books is a very beautiful online bookstore. Based in South Africa, they sell both ebooks and hard copies. If you enjoy reading romance, desire, suspense and thrillers, you can get a big box of 10 mills and boons titles for a small fee. They also stock contemporary literature, philosophical and inspirational books.
EB has a lot of special offers for customers. Buying books online has never been more exciting. Like the aforementioned bookstores, EB is very interactive. It has an efficient bookfinding tool and customers can register on the site and manage their orders.
For updates on available bargains, follow them on twitter @ExclusiveBooks.
10. African Bookstore
AfricanBookstore.net has been around since 2002. They specialize in only African and African American literature. They operate a massive online front which features biographies, history books, religious texts, prose fiction and poetry.
Visit the African bookstore, if your reading list includes some Alex Haley, Richard Wright, Yaa Gyasi, Alice Walker, Issa Rae, Martin Luther King Jnr., and other classics. If you’re in North America, the Africanbookstore will be a good place for you to find books, mostly because you’ll save some money from the shipping costs.
If you’re a parent who specifically wants children’s books for Africans and African Americans, you should check out the children’s books section. You can purchase interesting titles like the Black Panther, Children of Blood and Bones, and Ashanti to Zulu.
Visit the African Bookstore to order as many books as you’d like.
Buying Books Online In Africa
Now that you have a comprehensive list of African booksellers from all over the continent, purchasing books should be a walk over for anyone. Depending on your needs and your budget, and probably, geographical location, your preferred bookseller will definitely have the books you have been dying to read.
Most of these booksellers respond very quickly to their social media messages. If their websites contain phone numbers, you can call them to make inquiries. Sometimes, it is simply easier to use their e-commerce platforms. Most of the aforementioned bookstores offer how-to-buy guides. Basically, it involves typing in your preferred title and allowing the bookfinding tool to bring it up for you. The next step would be to add it to your cart and voila! You’ve made your order.
Do you know of any other online bookstores in Central Africa, North Africa, South Africa, West Africa and East Africa? Let us know in the comments section. Don’t forget to mention why your preferred bookstore is special and different from the ones on our list. We’d like to hear from you.