In Uganda good books cost a fortune. In the city capital, a good book costs as much as a person’s monthly salary. Some Ugandan books are pretty expensive.
With this reality, education will be thoroughly expensive for a lot of people. Education happens to be just one out of other life basics which cost money too. Imagine what happens to a family if the entire monthly income is exhausted in the purchase of one book.
As an escape route, parents and guardians look out for people who are travelling abroad to help them purchase the books they need. This appears to be working for most since they are more affordable outside Uganda.
Without exaggerations, some Ugandan books cost as much as $42 ( SH140,000). Did you know that waitresses in Kampala barely earn $60? And here we have books that cost as much as that.
To bridge this gap, a book enthusiast, Rosey Sembatya stepped in. She came up with a mobile library which will enable people read at a much affordable rate.
“So I sat back and thought maybe there is need to create something that can make story books accessible and available at a quite cheap price.”– Rosey
The library is known as Malaika Children’s Mobile Library. The library space has shelves and long desks with assorted books neatly arranged on them. For as low as $30 in a year, a child borrows about 3 books in a week.
BBC says Uganda has a “fairly robust publishing industry”. Harrison Kiggundu, a senior marketing officer at Fountain Publishers, says that the exorbitance of books has indeed affected the reading culture of the people. Aside books recommended by schools, it is usually difficult for people to go out of their way to leisurely buy other books.
“Our biggest sellers are the curriculum books. Schools and students cannot afford to go away minus curriculum books.”
With the result that these Ugandan books are specifically needed for the school year, the idea of purchasing books for pleasure reading in Uganda is almost at a zero.
However, the social media presented a platform to ease the situation once again. Without knowing it, the trend of phones, tablets and other devices is creating a chance for Ugandans to invest in reading.