Creative writer Williams Magunga launched theMagunga bookstore, an online bookstore for African literature recently intending to contribute to the growth of readership of African literature. The idea is to nurture an intelligent populace who acquire knowledge through reading. An intelligent populace can be better relied upon to tackle most of the societal problems they face.
He shares his thoughts behind theMagunga bookstore;
The categories in the bookstore suggest you largely will sell African literature. Why so?
There are a lot of amazing titles by African authors that do not get to see the light of day because our bookshops are diluted with literature from the West. That is what I wish to change. Other than that, I have witnessed firsthand what local authors go through to get their books stocked in bookshops around. Especially self published authors.
Bookshops and publishers also never market books. Books from the West dominate not just because they are good, but also because they are well marketed. Many African titles do not get marketed outside their country of publication.
There are many reasons why we concentrate on African reads, but it all boils down to the fact that we wish to see the African literary scene to grow by promoting the reading culture in our country.
Do you intend on stocking non literary books?
Yes, I am. Not everyone reads fiction, and that is a fact. So if anyone out there wishes to stock such books, be it cookbooks, comic books, biographies, autobiographies, political books etc, they are welcome.
Does it mean that only books available in your store can be sold? What if someone wants a book and wishes you to deliver?
If what you mean is whether or not we are able to deliver on an order for a book that is not on our website, the answer is ‘not for now’. We do not accept backorders at the moment. However we are working very hard at improving our stock as we are in conversation with a number of publishers from the continent so that we can provide Kenyans with a rich selection.
Why are the payment options available only debit or credit card enabled yet the country has fully embraced m-pesa and cash options?
Actually, we accept cash payments. Payments via MPESA are sent to 0703138039. We understand the fact that Kenyans have embrace mobile payments and plans are underway to have a Lipa Na Mpesa number for Buy Goods and Services. This we know will make it very easy for our readers to make payments while purchasing books.
In the next coming few weeks, we will have the Mobile Payment services enabled on our website.
What inspired you to start theMagunga bookstore?
I love reading. I am a writer. I run a creative writing website, www.magunga.com in which we simply tell stories. But I have always been fascinated by books. Many a time I wished to someday own a bookstore. However, these are different times. Kenyans are going digital, and that is why I opened an online bookstore. Meaning that we do not have a bookstore that one can visit, so we deliver books to individuals upon purchase.
One day I will write a book and I will want a proper platform to sell it. By then, I hope the store will have grown. In the meantime however, I will promote other writers get to their readers with ease.
Reading is one of the most amazing feelings. I want everyone to feel what I feel when I open a good book and look inside.
What delivery options are you envisioning?
We envision a time when we will be able to deliver books to people in their homes, just the way one would order for pizza and have it delivered to them. I hope to expand this to every part of this country, and in the future, take over distribution and sales of books by Africans in Africa. That is the dream.
How do you intend to leverage on areas with low internet access?
If you are in an area where there is no internet access, then all you have to do is make a call to +254 703 138 039. Our sales team will take it up from there. That also applies to our older generation – the ones who have difficulty keeping up with the fast evolving technology of ordering to items online. They simply make the call and they will be assisted.
Your parting shot!
Make theMagunga Bookstore your first stop if ever you need your African read need sated. Go to www.books.magunga.com , click on a title, and wait for the writers to transport you to a world you never knew existed.