3

Kenya’s very first e-bookstore, eKitabu, officially launched about 10 weeks ago, according to an article on the website of a Kenyan media group.

And this is interesting: According to a post on the eKitabu blog, the company introduced itself to Kenya’s reading public at a brick-and-mortar bookstore, Text Book Centre. Apparently e-book kiosks have since been installed inside every TBC retail location: “At the Kiosk,” as the post reads, ”you can receive help on how to get started reading eBooks, find your next favorite book, and start reading.”

That sounds a lot like the Barnes & Noble Nook kiosks to me, although unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a photo. The picture to the right is a shot of TBC’s Junction Shopping Mall location, but I’m guessing that’s the cash wrap area.

Also interesting: According to the aforementioned article, the 250,000 different e-book titles available at eKitabu can be read “on any Android phone or tablet device, and any computer—all with free software.” There’s no mention at all of dedicated e-readers, although that does make sense when you consider just how prevalent cell phones are in Africa. Mobile technology has been described as a “game changer” in Africa’s rural and developing areas. The continent is now said to be the second-largest mobile market in the world, with roughly 600 million subscribers.

As for actually purchasing e-books from eKitabu, that can done directly through the company’s website or with its free Android app. Books can be purchased with credit cards, or by using a mobile money transfer service known as M-Pesa.

 
3