Kytabu is a textbook subscription app built to provide low-cost access to digitalized versions of all Kenyan textbooks from Standard 1 to Form 4. The app allows users from low and middle-income families to rent a page, chapter or full book for time periods varying between 1 hour and 1 year.

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Kytabu seeks to improve access to quality education for all learners. Learning materials, in particular textbooks, remain a fundamental resource for learners, however barriers such as affordability, accessibility and convenience are common, particularly to students from low-income families in marginalized areas. The Kytabu textbook app allows students, who do not have the financial capital to purchase all textbooks required in Kenyan schools, to purchase them as digital copies for less than half of the hard copy price.

To reduce the cost for users, Kytabu changes the dynamic of textbook shopping by offering books by pages, chapter, or full book. Once a user has chosen the book or section of a book they wish to use, they can purchase that section for a variety of timelines – an hour, day, week, month or school term. Fragmented leasing accompanied with on-demand use allows the user to purchase within their means. A mobile money transfer system is used to open up the paying options from restrictions of distance, making it convenient for the user and scalable from the outset.

The Kytabu application encrypts learning institution textbooks offering three categories of content types: digital copies of textbooks, audio books and animated material. Digitized textbooks are stored in a microSD card, which is ‘latched’ to a SIM card and distributed as a single product as a tablet or dongle. This non-device dependent product has given Kytabu a considerable niche creating accessibility for students from low-income families.

Kytabu currently works in partnership with mainstream education textbook publishers in Kenya. The program is being piloted with 7300 children across Kenya in 2014, and there is potential to increase provision to include virtual classroom and learning monitoring. Through visual, audio and kinesthetic media, Kytabu has the potential enhance the learning experience of every child by catering to their individual learning needs and styles.

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