"In his usual spot on 125th Street [& Adam Clayton
Powell Blvd], taking call after call on his cell
phone on a recent Tuesday, Sidibe Ibrahima looked every inch an editor. Under
one arm, he carried proofs of a novel that a friend had asked him to look at.
Over the phone, he was reassuring another writer about her book. "Send me two
chapters," he told her soothingly. With his little glasses and his affable,
patient manner, Mr. Ibrahima would not seem out of place stalking the halls of a
high-profile publishing house"
'Alex Mindlin New York Times, July 17, 2005
Sidibe Ibrahima, affectionately called "Sidi," was born and raised in
Africa's Ivory Coast until he moved to Germany in 1982. He attended college in
Germany and developed his entrepreneurial spirit there before returning to the
Ivory Coast to open Sidibe & Freres Distribution (an import & export company) in
In 2000, Sidi headed to America armed with his ability to speak seven different languages as well as write four and began working at a jewelry store for $3.50 and driving a cab. When he amassed $600 in savings, he opened his first table in Harlem selling books.
In addition to selling books, Sidi began reading books from new publishing companies and giving them to other book vendors. Due to his business savvy and networking skills, he expanded to owning 5 book stands that encompasses various neighborhoods Brooklyn, New York.
Over the years, Sidi has helped many authors, including Terri Woods (Meow Meow Productions), Shannon Holmes (Triple Crown) Danielle Santiago (Little Ghetto Girl), Treasure E. Blue (Harlem Girl Lost), Al Saadiq Banks (No Exit, Bloc Party, Sincerely Yours), Mark Anthony (Paper Chasers, Dogism, Ladies Night), Antoine "Inch" Thomas (Flower's Bed, No Regrets, Unwilling to Suffer), Anthony Whyte (Ghetto Girls I & II, Streets of New York), K'wan (Gangsta Road Dowgs, Street Dreams), Michael Evans (It Was All In the Cards) and many others by helping them in promoting their books. On the distribution side, Sidi has assisted Culture Plus and A&B distributors and Bigdealbooks.
Recently, he's worked with Ashante Kahari, Homo Thug, and helped Ashante to amass 25,0000-50,000 in sales and become a best seller.
Sidi's "starting small but thinking big" attitude has helped him to become the most well known seller of African American books in New York City. He is constantly sent books to sample as well as galley proofs prior to the book being printed. He pretty much has kept his finger on the pulse of African American book patrons and provided them with what they have both needed in wanted in quality literature. He has a natural instinct and knowledge of the ever increasing market for literature that many companies would spend countless dollars to acquire that market share.
Sidi's desire to continue to be the premier source for quality literature prompted him to create Harlem Book Center (HBC), a publishing and distribution company in based in Harlem, NY. The first release from HBC is Fatou: An African Girl in Harlem, a novel that as actually penned by Sidi himself. Both HBC and "Fatou" are doing well in their infancy and are anticipated to surpass Sidi's original expectations.
With Sidi already accomplishing so much, one would wonder what's next. He actually wants HBC to be a huge publishing and distribution conglomerate that operates nationwide as well as internationally in France, England and other locales. As for his writing, Sidi has other project both on his mind and in the works.
Sidi's desire for literature and culture to come together is evident in the work, "Fatou." The culture of certain countries in Africa is explored as well as the fast-paced culture of New York City. The result is a riveting story of a young girl that quickly turns into a woman in America basically because she has no other choice. The heartfelt passages solidifies Sidi's ability to bond with African American book patrons and primes him for a stellar writing career that will complement his success as a book seller.
With all of his natural talents and instincts, Sidi has accomplished many things in his young life. Be sure to visit Harlem Book Center at 106 West 137th Street, Suite 5D in New York, NY or visit him online at www.harlembookcenter.com to keep abreast of current and ongoing projects.
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Publisher: Harlem Book Center (March 2006)
Format: Trade Paper, 282 pages
Aisha Kone receives the surprise of her life for her twenty-first birthday when she learns that her dad has purchased her an all expense trip to Africa. She feels like they are finally starting to repair the relationship that got torn apart when her dad started suspecting she was leading a alternate life-style that was degrading to his position of high esteem in New York City's Muslim community. But, after spending a luxurious week in Africa, Aisha's life gets turned upside down when she's detained by the National Security Police at Abidjan International Airport in the Ivory Coast. What she feels like will be a small nuisance of delay turns into years of being held against her will thousands of miles away from everyone that cares about her back in the United States.
This touching story of surviving while being raped, beaten, starved, and housed under unsanitary and unsafe conditions could be taken straight from the headlines. Aisha struggles to maintain her sanity although her world has turned topsy-turvy. And, in true real woman fashion, she exacts revenge on all of her perpetrators then makes preventing her catastrophe from happening to anyone else her life's work.
Aisha's story moves you, shakes you, and may even bring you to tears. Yes, it also gives you the reality of what life could be to a normal renaissance woman who ends up abducted in a foreign land. And it makes us realize that you never know who has it in for you or wants to hurt you. Find out how Aisha's heart is broken in addition to suffering in a foreign land when she finds out who's behind her dilemma. It may break your heart as well.
Fatou, Part 2
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Publisher: Harlem Book Center (March
Format: Trade Paper, 228 pages
With the love of her life mysteriously murdered, West African Harlemite Fatou sets out to discover which of her murdered lover's lieutenants in New York City's most notorious drug cartel was responsible for setting him up. After finally getting to a peaceful state in her own life despite suffering through pedophiles, rape, being kidnapped, and working under slave-labor type wages, the death of the man that picked her up when she was down finally pushes Fatou over the edge. And, although the lieutenants mistakenly assume that the death of Fatou's lover will soften the reigns of her control, they find out that her was the one that had previously cooled her down when she was about to blast off! There will be no such luck now that Fatou is on her own and poised to enact revenge. Everyone around her will find out what happens when a woman with an attitude is in control and determined to get respect one beat down at a time.
The rage in the story of revenge is furious and shows you that you'd be better off antagonizing a ravenous pit bull than to get on the wrong side of the wrong woman. Beware everyone because Fatou is back with a vengeance. I advise everyone to duck, put down your shades, and close your curtains. Don't be caught in the path of her wrath.
Fatou: An African Girl
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Publisher: Harlem Book Center (January 2005)
Format: Trade Paper, 287 pages
Twelve year old Fatou travels from West Africa to America thinking she's furthering her education. Yet, she arrives in New York City greeted by a man three times her age -- someone from her village who paid a dowry to be her husband. Suffering through pedophiles, deplorable cruel living conditions, and a slave life job eventually pushes her over the edge. When the smoke clears, she refuses to be a victim and exerts control of her life by becoming part of Harlem's fast money scene. The resulting terror leveled at anyone who gets in her way doesn't mask her old wounds but it does soothe her overwhelming hunger for revenge. Aside from money, power, respect, and her new love for New York City's number one drug lord, that's all a West African girl in Harlem has to look forward to.
This fast paced novel examines what happens when the bond of family and tradition fall apart. And it shows how a strong and fearless woman can hold her own surrounded by grimy men in the dangerous drug game.