Publishers rubbish reports of increase in textbooks prices

Publishers rubbish reports of increase in textbooks prices

Kenya Publishers Association has refuted reports indicating that there would be a 15 per cent hike in the price of textbooks.

In a statement sent to media houses on Saturday, the association chair David Waweru termed the report appearing on a local daily as alarmist and false, saying the source cited is not an industry insider.

“The facts are that out of over 4,000 textbooks in the Orange Book – the Approved List of Textbooks published by the Ministry of Education – only about 200 books are affected by a price increase of between 4 per cent to 10 per cent,” he said.

“Whereas publishers would have wished to increase the prices to match the increase of the costs of production and mitigate for the weakening shilling, publishers instead opted to lower their margins with the increase of 4 per cent to 10 per cent and keep a majority of the titles at the same price level.  In fact, prices on some titles were reduced.”

Waweru said that the Kenya Publishers Association, as a key partner with government and other key stakeholders in the education sector, works to provide quality materials cost-effectively to ensure that no child in Kenya will be left behind.

“In fact, all recent independent reports show that among all sub-Saharan African countries, prices of books are lowest in Kenya.”

The association urged the government to zero-rate textbooks as it is “immoral to tax knowledge and therefore raise the barriers of access to books.”

“Kenya is the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to impose VAT on books notwithstanding that we are signatories to international Conventions that commit not to impose taxes on books.”

Early this week reports had emerged that the association had increased the price of textbooks ahead of school opening next week.

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