Kenyan market fails to understand eBooks

In the wake of year 2011, several companies including the international ones entered into the publishing industry with hopes of steering growth in eBook conversions and Digitization. The move was mostly influenced by political landscape where some leaders promised to computerize the schools whilst the governments in conjunction with Kenya Publishers Association were preparing to come up with an online curriculum for schools. 

The advancement of technology that saw penetration of cheap mobile devices such as Tablets, Smart Phones, and computers also influenced IT companies to think about eBook conversions and digitization. The government and local companies embraced the entry of such companies that saw digitization of all physical books and reports from KNLS, KNBS, Ministry of Lands, and Pumwani Maternity, among others. Local entities include book and magazine publishers, individual authors, and book retailers, among others.

As an eBook professional, specifying in conversion methodologies and tactical synergies, I played a major role in ensuring growth in this industry but left when it was stabilized and picked in the entire market. By early 2013, the eBook conversions had gained momentum that saw the involved companies grow and expand by over 300 percent. Several companies became larger BPOs across Kenya and abroad with capabilities of hiring foreign professional to oversee the projects. I was happy to become one of the few eBook consultants and technocrat. A major blunder happened that forced the sector to cripple by the end of 2013. The companies that provided these services failed to focus on the consumers, especially in creating awareness of its importance. The few clients who benefited from the services could read their content freely in Tablets, PCs, Apple products, Amazon products, or any Smart Phones. These IT companies benefited from large customer base, though for shorter duration.

Many firms were left out from this technological advancement and were forced to turn to us, consultants or educate their staffs on conversion metrics but they must reach out to the professionals as the service has a standard format (ePub) that should be accepted by book distributors such as Apple, Amazon, or Nook, among others.

 It has become costly to some publishers, as they have bulky work to do and do not want to expand their expensive offices located in Westland or Upperhill. They target the established companies for out-sourcing, though most of them have failed to pay the eBook professionals reasonable salaries, who either resign or poached elsewhere. This has become a hoax to several clients, who fail to understand about eBooks and prefer their physical content.