At a recent book launch by Moran Publishers in Nairobi, the guest of Honor and one of Kenya’s most digital chief executives, safaricoms’ Bob Collymore had a word of advice for Publishers and readers.
An avid reader himself, Mr. Collymore stressed the importance of books. ‘Knowledge has two sources, experience and books. He said. He also stressed the importance of turning Kenya into a knowledge based economy. To do that, we have to encourage more Kenyans to read.’
On publishing, Bob said that there will forever be a demand for knowledge in the world. However, because we live in a fast paced mobile world; he advised Kenyan publishers to very quickly move to e-books. Mr. Collymore also acknowledged that this is indeed a digital age and hence digitization of knowledge should be the top most agenda of Kenyan government and publishers.
On voluminous research books, Mr Collymore suggested the publishing of the books in Bit sizes. The sell of standalone chapters would make research books more affordable to students who need to research on a particular topic but unfortunately have to buy a whole voluminous book so as to do so. He alleged.
The old chief , with vast experience gathered from working in different countries across the globe couldn’t be more right on his take on academic research books.
If social media presence is anything to go by, then Bob has quite some experience interacting with Kenyan youth. This could probably have informed his next piece of advice whereby he advises publishers to consider the volume of their books and make them short. ‘It is very hard to read long books. Go for 30 instead of 500 pages, he said. ‘Adopt and adopt new technology’.
Such advice couldn’t have been timelier. With the e-textbook programs and ongoing discourse among publishers, young readers and writers, Mr. Collymores’ outlook, sheds quite some light on the matter. The reduction of reading volumes, he says is because people are too busy these days. There is simply no time to sit and read a very huge books. However, one can read a chapter and when they have time, purchase another and read it. Perhaps he borrowed this particular advice from the Kadogo economy mentality to which safaricoms’ small unit airtime bamba is gotten. Purchasing a chapter definitely makes the books affordable to many low income Kenyans.
As I listened to literary scholars presenting their papers on Achebe the next day at the University of Nairobi, I wished for a moment that I would get my hands on just a single one of Achebe’s essays. This would have been possible if local Publishers sold books in chapters.