As opposed to previous years, this January has been the worst for Bungoma street booksellers.
A spot-check by Lake Region Bulletin revealed that many of the traders had recorded low sales, despite their high expectations which saw them secure high stocks.
In the pre-pandemic period, January has been characterized by resumption of the school reopening, a period when street book-selling business blossomed.
But many of these traders seemed to have missed the fact that school calenders were disrupted, with January being the beginning of third term.
Charles Khisa, a street book-seller along Moi Street in Bungoma town admits that trends have changed to their disadvantage since the upsurge of the pandemic.
“As you can see, there are very few customers out here today. Sadly, it has been this way since last year when the academic calendar was affected by Covid-19,” decried the father of four.
Khisa has been in the street-selling business since 1998 and he explains how apart from the 2007/2008 post-election clashes, this January reported the worst sales.
The education sector is one of the many sectors that have been hit most by the pandemic with the ministry of education forced to make changes to the academic calendar. Learners resume studies this week for their final term.
In January 2018, the government launched national distribution of text books for schools with the goal of cushioning parents from the burden of having to source learning materials for their children.
The success of the project remains unclear as some parents were seen in the book stores with their children making book purchases.
One of the parents who identified herself as Rose Mang’oli informed Lake Region Bulletin that she was forced to secure a textbook for her son but could not get all the desired books because of the high prices.
She explained that despite the government providing textbooks to public schools, there still exist gaps that need to be bridged if the success of the project is to be assured.
Street booksellers in Bungoma want the government to formulate a plan of bringing them on board in the supply of books and associate learning materials so that they are not rendered defunct.