Publishers lose Sh300 million to pirates yearly, stakeholders say

Nairobi Book Fair chair Mary Maina and Kenya Publishers Association chairman Kiarie Kamau. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Local book publishers lose up to Sh300 million annually to pirates. 

Republishing of content illegally has seen promising writers discouraged from writing. 

“Our industry has not been short of challenges. We are grappling with the menace of piracy, we are losing upwards of Sh300 million every year to pirates,” Kenya Publishers Association chairman Kiarie Kamau said.

Kamau spoke during a media briefing in Nairobi yesterday, on the upcoming Nairobi International Book Fair from Sep 27 to October 1, at Sarit Expo Centre.

Kamau said that piracy remains a big menace in the industry despite interventions by the Anti-Counterfeit Authority and Kenya Corporate Board to contain digital piracy.

Established under the Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008, the agency is mandated to combat counterfeit trade and promote programmes that enlighten the public on illegal businesses.

The book fair that has shown a marked improvement from 105 to 120 stands, will this year leverage on the youth.  

In 2018, the government centralised the system of publishing curriculum books which was previously decentralised.

“Kenya is the only country in Africa that has been able to achieve an equilibrium ratio in terms of book provision to the learners at primary schools as well as secondary schools,” he stated.

The book fair’s chair Mary Miana said the annual meet-up of players in the publishing sector seeks to bridge the gap between the industry and the community. Kamau called on the government to remove Value Added Tax on books to encourage the public to purchase books.

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