Nairobi’s biggest book sale records low turnout
The Kenya Museum Society second hand book sale 2012 will be used as an avenue for raising funds towards the restoration of the Joy Adamson Exhibition at the Nairobi National Museum which has not been exhibited for several years.
The book sale was held at Nairobi National Museum at Museum Hill with Friday and Saturday being the designated days for the annual activity. Members of the Society donated hundreds of second hand books, magazines, audio cassettes and rewritable compact discs to go towards the contributions when sold.
“Other book sales that we have had in the past have been used to develop the museum, most notably the Louis Leakey Auditorium which is now fully functional after a renovation and is now generating income for the Museum,” said Dr. Marla Stone, the Secretary of the Kenya Museum Society council.
“Some of the other income the Society raises is also used to fund exhibits, research activities and masters studies for the members in order to add value to the Museums of Kenya,” added Dr. Stone.
The books, magazines and other items were being sold at arguably the most affordable prices in Nairobi with some sections of the desk giving away four books at a paltry Ksh.50. Other items ranged from Ksh.50 to Ksh.150 for each.
Joy Adamson is best remembered for her book, Born Free, which describes part of her conservation efforts of raising a lion cub named Elsa. Born Free has been printed in several languages and distributed around the world, and a movie revolving around it in 1966 became an Academy Award-winning movie using the same name.
Several people had already gathered at the book stand inside the Museum premises from as early as 11:00 am to dig through the mountains of items to make a purchase.
KMS is celebrating 41 years of existence and according to Dr. Stone, more people should join the society in order to take part in the interactive events it holds regularly.
“Anyone can be a member of the Kenya Museum Society by registration which attracts a fee of Ksh.1500 for single membership,” said Dr. Stone who has been in Kenya for the last 13 years, nine of which have been as a council member of KMS.
The slogan of the sale is “It’s time to revamp your library!” with some of the items available for sale including novels (both new and old) and magazines like 2012 issues of True Love, Ndege, Drum and Business Traveller Africa.
“Today the sales are still low but we are expecting better luck in the course of the day. In the past we have had about 40 people looking to buy at a time,” said Dr. Stone.
The streets of Nairobi have for a long time been a source of cheap second hand books whose sources are largely unknown and might be the reason why such competitive book prices are given a wide berth by readers. Otherwise, it could easily be construed as a case of a people without a reading culture of any kind even with incentives being offered in earnest.