Economy

Textbook firms see Sh30bn drop in sales on schools closure

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Summary

  • Textbook firms project Sh30 billion drop in sales this year or 75 per cent fall in revenues on prolonged closure of schools and learners repeating classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) — which represents 99 per cent of local publishers — says sales took a downturn from March when schools closed to combat the spread of the disease.
  • Hopes of business recovery for the publishers were dimmed last week when Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha announced all the basic learning institutions would reopen in January.

Textbook firms project Sh30 billion drop in sales this year or 75 per cent fall in revenues on prolonged closure of schools and learners repeating classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) — which represents 99 per cent of local publishers — says sales took a downturn from March when schools closed to combat the spread of the disease.

Hopes of business recovery for the publishers were dimmed last week when Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha announced all the basic learning institutions would reopen in January.

“Usually, the publishing industry does an annual turnover of up to Sh40 billion, but we doubt this year we will achieve even Sh10 billion,” KPA chairman Lawrence Njagi told the Business Daily.

The postponement of schools opening dates to January, and learners not proceeding to the next class means that revenues from book sales will remain flat for a prolonged period.

Giant publishes such as the Kenya Literature Bureau, Longhorn Publishers and Oxford University Press are expected to be hit the hardest.

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.

Mr Njagi said hardly any book orders had been made by booksellers since March when President Uhuru Kenyatta closed schools after Kenya confirmed covid-19 cases within its borders.

“We do not expect to sell books next year because learners will be repeating classes and will use the books already in their possession,” he said.