‘Online bookstore will bridge geographical spaces’- Kyomuhendo 

Goretti Kyomuhendo, the founder and director of African Writers Trust. Photo/Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • Tubaze African Books online bookshop was established to address some of the challenges associated with the distribution of books by African writers within the continent and in the Diaspora. 

The African Writers Trust (AWT) has launched its own online bookshop called Tubaze African Books. Tubaze (a Rutooro-Runyoro word to mean let us talk), ensures that books by African writers published outside the continent are easily available and affordable to audiences in Africa. 

The bookstore, which is now live, invites its audience to explore African authors and their literal works across Africa and its diaspora. Available are memoirs, non-fiction, novels and poetry.

Tubaze African Books online bookshop was established to address some of the challenges associated with the distribution of books by African writers within the continent and in the Diaspora. 

Books authored by writers residing outside the continent are not readily accessible to audiences on the continent largely because of cost implications. “At Tubaze, accessibility, affordability and availability of books is guaranteed,” Goretti Kyomuhendo, the AWT founder and director, told Arts and Leisure Magazine.
Poor physical infrastructure, prohibitive trade policies, such as taxes levied on importation of books and a lack of common currency among African nations, are some of the obstacles authors face. 
According to Kyomuhendo, an online bookshop will make some of these difficulties history. She says Tubaze African Books stocks books by African writers from across the globe. The titles, which are in different genres, include fiction, nonfiction, memoirs and biographies, short story collections and anthologies, children’s literature and poetry.

“We also plan to stock books in other formats, such as audiobooks and eBooks to increase accessibility and affordability,” says Kyomuhendo. 

Asked how fast one can receive a book after ordering it, Kyomuhendo replied: “This will depend on the buyer’s location. If the buyer is in Kampala, we aim to deliver within 12 hours; if the customer is based outside Kampala, or Uganda, then it will take between 24 and 72 hours for the order to be delivered.”  

She says while Tubaze’s primary target market are readers on the continent, the online bookshop also intends to serve a wider audience of readers based outside Africa. The bookshop is also running a woman’s month programme that pays homage to African women that have made their mark in the literary world. 

It is celebrating their creativity and ingenuity with the written word. Readers are encouraged to beef up their library with African women novelists, poets, short-story writers, and editors, among others. 

Tubaze African Books recognises how important it is for writers and readers to engage with each other. The bookshop will be hosting a series of talks under the programme dubbed Writers in Conversation, where established writers will be offering valuable insights and answering questions connected to the world of literature. 

The book title for the Woman’s Month of April 2024 is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta was featured in March 2024. 

Kyomuhendo says the online book market in Africa has seen a marked increase in the past decade. 

Asked how online bookshops will increase book sales in some African countries, where sales in brick and mortar bookshops remain notoriously low, Kyomuhendo says: “Online bookshops may increase sales by stocking books in other formats, for instance, audiobooks and e-pubs, which can be read on various eReaders devices. Many young readers prefer these formats to the traditional physical books. Audiobooks and e-pubs are also more affordable and have a wider reach compared to physical books.”

In 2009, Kyomuhendo founded AWT that exists to bridge the geographical spaces that divide African writers on the continent and in the diaspora.