11 September 2017

Cameroon: Shopping for Books - Exchange of Textbook Gains Grounds

To many a parent it helps defray cost incurred on didactic materials.

With the high cost of didactic and other school material steadily rising on the local market, most parents and students are gunning for the exchange of old books for new ones, especially for pupils and students in new classes. Across most bookshops in the economic capital, women and men queue up in bookshops with a pack of used textbooks waiting to exchange them at a minimal cost. Some bookshops in a neighbourhood like Bonaberi not only sell new textbooks, but also sell and buy second-hand ones and as well carry out exchange services. Most of the textbook parents sought after in the primary school section are English, French and Mathematics while students go in for nearly all the subjects including literature, biology, chemistry and physics. There is a respect of homologated prices in the bookshops in Douala. New textbooks observe this order while the prices of second-hand ones depend on the state of the textbook. In Bonaberi, the shops carry out exchange services which are less costly to parents with little means. Since the introduction of exchange services some years back, some parents enforced in their children the culture of being careful and not destroy the textbooks. They gather the books and present to the shopkeepers at schools' reopening. A new textbook like Senior Primary English book four that sells at FCFA 4,000 is sold in second-hand at FCFA 2,000. When it comes to exchange, parents hand in the Senior Primary English book four and collect second-hand book five with FCFA 500 charged for the service rendered. Other parents bring in second-hand books and return with new ones. Such customers add at least FCFA 1,000 depending on the amount the bookshop attendant bought their second-hand books and on the cost of a new one.

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