“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”
—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 [domain inactive] to keep abreast of current and ongoing projects.
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