Economy

Textbook sales down 80pc on pandemic

books

Learners textbooks on display. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Textbook sales are yet to pick up despite reopening of grade four, class eight and form four classes by the Ministry of Education in October 12.
  • According to the Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) chairman Lawrence Njagi, sales are down 80 percent compared to similar period last year.
  • Schools reopening presented a recovery opportunity for publishers after more than six-months of closure in March.

Textbook sales are yet to pick up despite reopening of grade four, class eight and form four classes by the Ministry of Education in October 12.

According to the Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) chairman Lawrence Njagi, sales are down 80 percent compared to similar period last year.

Schools reopening presented a recovery opportunity for publishers after more than six-months of closure in March.

“We have seen about 80 percent drop in our normal sales at this period,” Mr Njagi said.

With the date for reopening other classes still unknown, giant publishers such as the Kenya Literature Bureau, Spotlight Publishers, Longhorn Publishers and Oxford University Press are expected see further revenue drops.

This comes after Longhorn Publishers issued a profit warning for the year ending June 2020, preparing investors for a fall in earnings for the first time in five years on account of disrupted learning caused by Covid-19.

“The board of directors, having reviewed the group’s performance forecast has determined that the earnings for the financial year ending June 30, 2020 will be lower than the earnings for the previous year,” said the publisher in a statement in June.

Mr Njagi projects the industry’s earnings to drop to about Sh2 billion from an annual sales of between Sh20 and 30 billion.

“The loss will come in because we are still having expenses but we are not covering those expenses,” he added.

REVISION TITLES

He added that schools are not buying books as majority of them still use this year’s books as learners are yet to transit to other classes. He said that sales of revision books are also down.

“There could be a myriad of reasons for this, such as lack of disposable income and job losses among parents and guardians,” he adds.