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Piracy could kill our nascent book industry

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A passionate plea was made recently to President Uhuru Kenyatta to lift a ban on Mr Joe Khamisi’s book, Looters and Grabbers, 54 years of corruption and plunder by the elite, 1963-2017.

A similar appeal was made earlier by Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o to the president during the opening of Kenya National Theatre in June, 2015. A number of Prof Ngugi’s books were banned by previous regimes.
Mr Khamisi faced many challenges in getting his book published, with mainstream bookshops declining to display it for fear of possible lawsuits.


Currently, there is yet another hurdle facing Mr Khamisi and other writers — e-book piracy.
A book whose price is Sh3,000 is now available at Sh50-100, thanks to unauthorised reproduction mostly in portable document format (pdf). Mr Khamisi recently appealed to those willing to buy the book in pdf to pay him only Sh500.

If unchecked, e-book piracy could kill our publishing industry. Authors and publishers get little or no return, despite their hard work and well stipulated copyright laws. By reproducing their works, we deny them their income.
A number of people are illegally selling e-books on their social media platforms. Let us stop robbing our writers. Writers invest their time and financial resources, at times endangering their lives, to come up with the finished books we see on bookshelves. Besides, books require costly and extensive research. Let’s change our attitudes.



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