Onitsha: J.C. Brothers Bookshop, [1971?]. First Edition. Octavo (21cm); illustrated wrappers, stapled; 60pp; illus. Light wear to extremities, touch of oxidation to staples, else Near Fine. Apparent first printing (per Peter Hogg) of this edition, but this is a re-working of an earlier (1964) work with an identical title attirbuted to R. Okonkwo. There were numerous later printings as late as 1978.
An excellent example of the popular literature that flourished in Nigerian market stalls in the 1960s and 70s, most of it characterized by slightly sensational content, rustic production values, and a disarmingly naive (to an American reader's eyes, at least) approach to its subject matter. In the current rather blandly-titled example we feel we have discovered an incunable in the Nigerian scam-letter genre: in the author's advice to letter-writers we recognize much that has become familiar over the years to recipients of the same, including such as advice as, "...You should address yourself as Brothers, Sons or as Company. This will no doubt influence them more than a single man's name...English people like company and United business more than a single man's business...;" and the following, given as an example of an effective business letter: "Sir, Why is it that we have not received the books we ordered from you since last four months? We have been trading with other publishers over there but never in the least had they delayed our order even for one month. We therefore ask you to return the sum of 30 pounds which we paid to you in advance relating to the order - G. Madu & Brothers, Manager."
Despite a brief vogue for these Onitsha Chapbooks in the United States in the mid-70s (the period during which the few large institutional collections of them were formed) most are now quite uncommon in the trade. The current example is no exception - no other copies found in commerce (2013); OCLC gives about 10 locations for various editions. HOGG (Market Literature From Nigeria: A Checklist) 27.