By M&M Reporter
Founder and Chairman of East Africa’s biggest private university by student numbers, Mt Kenya University (MKU) has advised publishers to increase their pace of publishing ebooks or missed out on a lucrative business opportunity. Speaking at this year edition of Nairobi Book Fair, Professor Simon Gicharu said publishers had been slow on keeping up with changing readers tastes at the time when readers are taking up ebooks.
“Today, as hard copy documentation is giving way to digital documentation, it may be necessary for authors to embrace this trend,” he said.
Gicharu also challenged schools and higher learning institutions to cultivate a deep reading culture that transcends school and college years among students that live on even when they are have graduated from college and started their professional lives.
“Learning institutions must support and encourage positive reading culture. It is unfortunate that many people today have lost some skills acquired in school due to an apparent detachment to reading. This can be avoided by embracing a steady reading culture. Everything possible should be done to stop the decline in reading irrespective,” he said.
An accomplished author himself, Gicharu asked fellow authors to write more books tackling issues that students and scholars are grappling with at the higher education level.
“In addition to growing the body of knowledge available by local writers for students pursuing different courses in colleges and universities, such literature would offer students scenarios that they can relate with and help them in developing solutions to challenges experienced locally,” he said.
Gicharu’s book Gicharu, Applied Mathematics for Craft Engineering, is widely used as a course book for engineering students in Kenyans technical training institutes.
He also said MKU would be equipping its campus in Rwanda with additional books worth Sh2 million this month, mostly on language.
Prof Gicharu, a published author and whose more recognisable books included the co-authored Applied Mathematics for Craft Engineering, also met renowned Kenyan authors including Muthoni Likimani, who is also an ambassador for the International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace (IFLAC).
During the event, Kenya Publishers Association, which organises the annual fair, said publishers are ready for the rollout of the competency based curriculum.
“Books on all subjects are ready for pre-school and primary grades one, two and three,” said KPA chairman Lawrence Njagi .
The Nairobi Bookfair is in its 21st year and is the biggest book fair in East and Central Africa. Last year it attracted 29 000 visitors.
It has attracted 55 local exhibitors and 15 international exhibitors this year.