Where to Find Cheap Textbooks in Nairobi

Where to Find Cheap Textbooks in Nairobi

It’s back-to-school season and parents are struggling with loooooong shopping lists that are not too friendly on their pockets. Textbooks especially, cost a fortune. But there are alternatives out there.

I’ll take you through the streets of Nairobi to the online stores just to cover all the best places to get both used and new books. For my international readers hope you enjoy the small glimpse of my local bookshops.

Second-hand textbooks can be found all over the city and you can even exchange your kids’ books for others. Here’s where to get them: Jiji and roadside vendors.

A great place to get cheap used books and where I get the majority of my collection are from street vendors. The books may not be in the best shape but they still do the job and are easy on my wallet. Here are some of my favorite spots.

Outside Tusky’s Commercial along Tom Mboya Street

I highly recommend this place especially if you are looking for those floppy paperbacks. The price is usually 100/= but on some days they can go as low as 50/=
All along Tom Mboya Street, you will find multiple street vendors who have a vast array of quality titles.

Muindi Mbingu St, Nairobi City. Outside School Outfitters
They predominantly sell hardcovers and in pretty good condition. This is where I bought the majority of my Harry Potter editions. The price range is usually 300/= but they usually have a clearance sale for 100/=

Kimathi St, Nairobi City or Nation Center. Near Ibiza Hotel

I generally prefer buying books through street vendors because it somehow feels like an adventure you never know what you are going come across. Yes, sometimes I come out empty handed but on those magical days, I find some really amazing titles.

Pro Tip: The Street Vendors usually stock up new books on Friday so that’s the best time to go if you want to successfully find good books. I would recommend befriending the vendor and leave your contact info to get an alert when new books arrive.

Chain Bookstores for New Books

If you are willing to spend a bit of money to acquire new fresh books then you should check out these places.

Here are currently the Top 20 Leading Bookshops in Nairobi

Albert Einstein once said that ‘ The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library’. Bookstores have always seemed to me like smaller versions of libraries that give you a chance to not just borrow but actually get yourself a copy of that novel or book you’ve been eyeing for a while. Growing up, I always acted like a kid at a candy store while in bookshops because I loved to read and loved when they restocked the latest copies of my favourite novels.

The smell of new books is nostalgic to me and takes me back to a time when my favourite books were Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. My taste has definitely grown and matured over the years but bookstores are still one of my favourite places to spend a Saturday. More recently, we have seen bookstores have cafe sections which is amazing if you ask me. Purchasing books is definitely a guilty pleasure for me and the most exciting part of my month is finding out our chosen book for my book club.

The city of Nairobi is endowed with a myriad of bookstores that provide a haven for book lovers, knowledge enthusiasts, and learners. A lover of all things literature will definitely find this list quite handy. Listed below are some of my chosen favourite bookstores in Nairobi;

1. Textbook Center.

Textbook Centre is one of the most frequented bookstores in Kenya with its store having numerous branches across Nairobi and its environs. They are reliable and have almost all your needs. They aslo take special order requests and  contact you when your order arrives. The Textbook Centre branches are located in Thika Road Mall, Junction Mall, Two Rivers Mall, The Hub Karen, Village Market, Garden City Mall, and their famous Flagship Store at Sarit Centre. Textbook Centre stocks a wide range of products including office supplies, stationery, I.T supplies, and a vast collection of books.

Textbook Centre bookstores are well-spaced, organized to ensure time-saving, and eased manoeuvring around the store by customers. The staff are very helpful and knowlegeable on the stock available and are highly commendable at the great customer service they offer at all their stores. Textbook Centre have a simple interface website for all their customers which gives them a chance to order their book(s) of choice with just a few clicks from the comfort of your home.

Textbook Centre prides itself in stocking African books by various African writers to promote and support African literature, therefore, making it the best go-to store for that African novel you have been eyeing or longing to read.

2. Prestige Bookshop.

Prestige Bookshop is located in Prudential Building on Mama Ngina Street and they also have a branch in Lavington Mall. If you having trouble finding a rare book, Prestige Bookshop is the one reliable bookstore that has a wide collection of books that most people dim rare to find in local bookstores within Nairobi and its environs. Prestige Bookshop will leave you spoilt for choice as it is known to stock a wide collection of Kenyan and African literature.

Prestige Bookshop also has a good ambience and not to forget, an online catalogue that gives you a chance to purchase their books online. Prestige Bookshop accompanies all customer purchases with their famous long-lasting trademark Prestige Bookshop bookmarks, therefore, giving their customers a reason to come back again and again.

3. Savanis Bookshop.

Savani’s Book Centre Ltd, commonly known as Savani’s Bookshop, is one of the most established bookstores and leading booksellers in Nairobi with their store strategically located on the ground floor of the Savani’s Book Centre Building along Lagos/Latema road.

Savani’s bookshop has affordable and reasonable prices with a variety of school books ranging from children’s books to higher learning books(medical and technical books), stationery and art supplies including oil paints, art stationery, and acrylic paints. Their endless fully packed shelves give their customers a wide range of books to choose from. Savani’s bookshop, however, has no online store and only deal in in-store purchases.

4. UNES Bookstore.

UNES bookstore which in full stands for University of Nairobi Enterprises & Services Limited is a great bookstore located in the University of Nairobi. The store deals in books, stationery, electronic devices such as laptops and Ipads and even uniforms. It would surprise many to know that despite its location in a higher learning institution, the UNES Bookstore stocks not only have a university and higher learning education book collection but also stocks up textbooks from primary school and secondary schools.

Prices at UNES Bookstore are quite reasonable and also offer gift vouchers for people who are instead interested in gifting a book-lover rather than purchasing themselves. UNES Bookstore also offers item branding and have an online store for customers who would prefer an online purchase option.

5. Keswick Books and Gifts.

Keswick Books and Gifts is a Christian Bookstore with various branches around Nairobi. These branches include stores in Bruce House, Kanda Street, Parklands, Sarit Centre, Prestige Plaza, and Ngong Road. Keswick Books and Gifts stocks a wide collection of books including Theology books, Motivational, Fictional, Christian living books and guides, children’s literature and so much more.

Keswick Books and Gifts majorly promotes biblically and socially relevant Christian literature with their books available both in-store and on their Keswick online website where they give same-day deliveries for customers within Nairobi. Their gift shop options include mugs, keyrings, journals, travel mugs with inspirational quotes, and more also available on their online catalogue.

6. Bookstop Limited.

Bookstop Limited is considered Nairobi’s premier bookshop and is located on the second floor of  Yaya Centre in Nairobi. This bookstore retails a huge collection of books that caters for all age ranges and all aspects of life including religion, fitness, social, economic and educational books too. Their best seller options and most of the popular books are available both in-store and online at the Bookstop Ltd website.

In the case where a customer might fail to get a book of their choice, Bookshop Limited takes it upon themselves to ship in the book(s) for their customers. The store has a beautiful set-up and good shelf arrangement by genre and alphabetically. Customers return time and time again for a carefully curated range of titles and their ever-friendly staff. Second-hand books are also available at affordable prices at Bookstop Limited.

7. EXCEL BOOKSHOP & UNIFORMS-UTAWALA

Excel Bookshop & Uniforms-Utawala is located in Utawala Centre off Eastern Bypass a few metres from the Kincar stage. Excel Bookshop stocks a wide variety of school books, stationery, school bags, and school uniforms at their store. They sell their products at affordable prices and give great customer discounts. Excel Bookshop has great customer services and gives in-store dressing options to customers purchasing uniforms. the store also offers free book labeling at their store.

8. Chania Bookshop.

Chania Bookshop is strategically located along Moi Avenue at the Tumaini House ground floor, therefore, making it one of the great one-stop shops for stationery and book purchases in Nairobi.  Chania Bookshop is always well-stocked and their books sell at fair prices. Chania Bookshop is especially a favourite for parents and guardians hoping to purchase primary and secondary school books since they always stock a wide array of school books from different publishers giving their customers spoilt for choice.

Chania Bookshop also deals in the sale of school uniforms too making the back-to-school hustle a bit less hectic since customers get to do most of their purchases in one store.

9. Locus Bookshop.

Locus Bookshop is conveniently located along Ngariama Lane, Nairobi making it the ideal bookstore to do your school shopping for stationery and schoolbooks. The small, independent, and busy bookstore stocks books ranging from children’s books to adult literature and Christian books. Locus Bookshop also offers great customer discounts as well as periodic sales on their items.

10. CLC Christian Bookline.

CLC Christian Bookshop is part of an international mission organization that aims at making Christian literature available to all nations. the CLC Christian Bookshop is located in Hurlingham Park along Argwings Kodhek Road.

The Christian bookstore devoted to spreading the word of God does this through the sale of Bibles, Christian literature, and also gift items. If you are looking to be inspired or inspire someone through a religious book or two, CLC Christian Bookshop would be the perfect place to pop into.

11. Educate Yourself Ltd.

Educate Yourself Ltd is a well-stocked bookshop situated at location A2 in Westgate Shopping Mall, Nairobi city. This store is really big on selections offering a wide array of books to choose from. The book collection at Educate Yourself Ltd ranges from fictional, non-fiction, children’s books to school textbooks.

The staff at Educate Yourself Ltd is helpful and always willing to offer extensive recommendations. The bookstore has partnered with both local and international publishers to ensure they provide an extensive variety of books for their customers. Educate Yourself Ltd is a merchant for international suppliers such as Pearson Education, Harper Collins, McGraw Hill Education among others.

12. Chaka Bookshop.

Chaka Bookshop is an in-store shopping and pick-up bookstore located on Cross Road, Nairobi. Although Chaka Bookshop is small and slightly cramped up, the store is well-stocked with a great collection of books that customers can choose from.

Chaka Bookshop especially gets busy when schools re-open with shoppers looking to get in their last-minute back-to-school shopping. Chaka Bookshop offers a good range of books, uniforms, and stationery at pocket-friendly prices.

13. Avenue Bookshop.

Avenue Bookshop is located at Leone House along Ronald Ngala Street. Avenue Bookshop is not overly small but also not as large as chain stores. Avenue Bookshop is well-stocked and always provides a great variety for customers to choose from due to its convenient location near Ronald Ngala junction on Tom Mboya

14. New Day Bookshop Limited.

New Day Bookshop is located on the first floor of Yaya Centre on Argwings Kodhek Road. This bookstore is majorly a Christian bookshop that stocks not only great Christian literature but also gifts, cards, music CDs among other products.

15. Pals Bookshop.

Pals Bookshop is located in Diamond Plaza, along 4th Avenue, Parklands. This bookstore stocks everything from a curated selection of fiction, biography, history, travel and crime to art and photography books. Pals Bookshop also features a collection of beautiful children’s books and is mostly famous for stocking Diwali items and other Indian religious festival items like Rangoli colours and stencils, Navratri items and Holi colours.

16. Readmore Kenya.

Readmore Kenya is a great bookstore located along the Kikuyu Nderi Road near Jamii Bora Bank. It is well-known among residents of Kikuyu as an ideal place to purchase stationery and books. The best thing about Readmore Kenya is its superb customer service.

17. Stanley Bookshop.

Stanley Bookshop located along Kimathi Street within the Nairobi CBD is a small independent bookstore that is situated in the heart of Nairobi city. Their ever-packed store and fully stocked shelves always ensure customers leave with a book or two from their vast collection.

18. Rafu Books.

Rafu Books is a hardcover books and gifts store located in Fatima Court along Argwings Kodhek Road. Rafu Books partners with local authors to ensure they provide customers with rare exclusive copies of writers. They have a great online store where customers can get the books of their choice from their well-organized catalogue.

Besides doing same-day deliveries for customers around Nairobi, Rafu Books also ships books overseas via international couriers for their esteemed and valued customers.

19. Kencos Bookshop

Kencos Bookshop is an in-store shopping and in-store pick up bookstore located along Gandhi Avenue. Despite Kencos Bookshop being a small business, the family-run bookshop allows customers to order school books and office supplies for those who cannot do in-house shopping, stationery and cares for all education-related needs. The books here are quite affordable and range from children’s books, primary and secondary school books.

20. Enjoy Christian Bookshop

Enjoy Christian Bookshop is located at Church House along Moi Avenue and is a Christian book centre that deals in the sale of a wide range of Christian literature, spiritual books, to inspirational music through their Christian music CD’s. Enjoy Christian Bookshop does same-day deliveries for goods ordered by their customers who reside within Nairobi.

Online Bookstores

For those who are scared of going out to buy we have some Online Stores that get the job done. Yes, Shipping to Kenya can be tedious if you have no idea what you’re doing from shipping cost and waiting for months but I have used these three and I was impressed by their service. If you have any suggestions on other online platforms I’d appreciate it.

I usually use Abe books for cheap used books even though it takes awhile to ship to Kenya but the prices are usually good.

I hope you enjoyed the small trip around Nairobi’s Bookshops and above all I hope my fellow Nairobi Bibliophiles have gotten an idea of how to navigate through the complex shopping experience. If by any chance you have visited these places I would love to know or it would be awesome if you recommend some hidden gems in Nairobi because I am always on the lookout for new places to buy books.

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