About The Bookstore
Rugano Books, previously known as ‘The Magunga Bookstore’ is the brainchild of writer and critically acclaimed blogger Magunga Williams, who saw a space in the Kenyan literary scene for a bookstore that only sells books written by people of African descent. Favouring an online bookstore model, such as the type used by Amazon and The Guardian, he partnered with tech guru David Mabiria, the founder of Magazine Reel (an online campus magazine) to build the website in December 2015, and then with writer Abigail Arunga for assistance with operations, logistics, customer service and social media. This team of three are the ones behind the day-to- day running and long-term strategic planning for this intercontinental organization.
Rugano Books is interested in the selling, distribution and promotion of African books, as well as widening the culture of reading and African literacy. People say that they can’t find African-authored books to read – we mean to help them do that, because it is not that there is a lack of books, just a lack of awareness. African books in this context means books that are written by Africans, whether on the continent or in the diaspora, who identify as African and tell the African story, preferably from an intimate and first generational context. African books also include books that are written about Africa, though not necessarily by Africans, but provide a perspective that we feel is necessary, at the discretion of the team behind the bookstore.
In the spirit of Pan-Africanism, awareness, literacy and the knowledge-seeking that is necessary for those who live on the continent, it is imperative that the access to books on Africa, about Africa, by Africans, is made easier. The books and the authors are there. The distribution systems can be finessed. The awareness of these books must be enhanced and emphasized, because it is and always has been essential for Africa to tell her story as she sees it. The hunter cannot always be the one telling the tale for the lion, else history is forever skewed. This is why Rugano Books exists, in two parts– simply, to let people know that the books are there, and to get these books to the people.
For our efforts, we have been featured in both local and international magazines, with links listed below: The internet is the future. We order stuff, all kinds of stuff online – from sex to alcohol and to transport- so why not books? – Hapa Kenya: http://www.hapakenya.com/2016/02/03/grab-yourself-a-book- at-magungas- new-online- bookstore/
The dream for Rugano is to grow and become the leading online store on the African continent. It is a far-off dream, but he has already started walking. – Tech Cabal: http://techcabal.com/2016/03/11/this-kenyan- writer-is- using-the- internet-to- get-others- to-read-african-fiction/
So far, the Rugano store has stocked 500 fiction and non-fiction titles from countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The store has sold an average of 100 books every month. – Quartz Africa: https://qz.com/905604/the-online- bookstores-pushing- for-more-kenyans-to- read-books- by-africans- authors/
Instead, he made it his mission to create a space like that library—not in a house but on the Internet. The result is a fledgling online pan-African bookshop: Rugano Books. – The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/bringing- african-books- back-home