Applause Africa sits down with the young yet successful Ms. Beryl Ribeiro, CEO of Sytris Book Shop and Café to learn more about this small haven in Accra.
What was the inspiration behind the innovative style SyTris Bookshop? Was there a particular void and need that needed to be filled? I’ve always loved books, so choosing to deal in books was easy. Although I actually stumbled upon it, as I was approached to supply books by the school in which I was pursuing my MBA. That is where the inspiration to established a world class book and coffee shop in Ghana derived from.
In a sense there will always be a void in the bookservice industry in Ghana in that, there are a billion and one books out there, so it’s practically impossible for any single bookshop to stock every title at any point.
Yet, we can proudly say we are the first outlet to concentrate on the widest range of books and textbooks with titles that are dictated by the market demand. While providing a cozy and relaxing environment to enjoy great coffee and your favourite books and magazines.
Has the bookshop been well received in Ghana? Yes, we believe it has. Most people are pleasantly surprised by the ambiance and range of books we have in our Osu Bookshop and often refer to its similarity to Barnes & Noble and other well known bookshop in various countries.
What mediums do you provide to the general public? Textbooks for Higher Education; Novels; Self-Help / Professional Development Books; Children’s’ Books; Workbooks for Primary and Secondary education in the international curriculum; Magazines – lifestyle, management, health, puzzles; and Reference Books. We also offer greeting cards and gifts.
In addition to the bookshop in Osu, we have a little Café, where our customers can relax and enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, or a cold beverage with little bites. The view from the café is absolutely beautiful, and gives you the chance to escape from the heat and the chaos of the traffic of Accra’s Oxford Street. In addition to the bookshop and coffee shop, we use the space as a venue for lots of different events such as poetry performances, musical shows, networking events, book launches and signings and wine tasting.
What is the reading culture like in Ghana? Ghanaians, generally do not like reading much but we are extremely proud of our educational achievements, in our local parlance we say “Our book long!” For this reason, higher education students will endeavour to purchase the necessary text to successfully complete their courses. Post Graduate students, even more so. They actually take pride in displaying their books in their offices during and after their courses. As an offshoot of that, self-help/professional development books are our most read
What popular Ghanaian/African lifestyle magazines exist? Some of the magazines would be; True Life magazine, Canoe, Dust magazines, Glitz magazine, Ovation magazine and Agoo magazine . We now welcome Applause Africa Magazine to this list. I know it will bring an interesting flare.
Do you feel like the media is doing a good job in telling the complete African story? Definitely. Nowadays you get to hear stories of creativity and entrepreneurship which is not only refreshing but also representative of the new Africa.
How can Africans gain ownership and ensure that their story is told? Africans can start by telling their stories their own way and by themselves. As much as the stories of slavery and colonialism are crucial to our history, it comes across as stereotypical and irrelevant these days when it is of a non-African source. I encourage us to utilize various media to tell our own relevant stories which depicts how far we have come of age.