A Text Book Centre store. The company released its 2020 best-sellers list.
A Text Book Centre store. The company released its 2020 best-sellers list.

Leading bookstore Text Book Centre (TBC) on Thursday, December 10 published its list of the 20 best sellers of the year.

The educational, cultural and technological content and products distributor used sales data from its network of stores and eCommerce platform. The rankings also considered reviews and general reception in the market.

Interestingly, the company reported a 300% surge in online sales in 2020. The situation was undoubtedly driven by the Covid-19 p******c, which made working and learning from home the new normal.

Topping the list was former US President Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land.

Released in November after national elections in the US, the book covering his time in office and hopes for America has been a global best-seller.

Cover for ‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama

The first of a two-volume series, A Promised Land sold 887,000 copies in the United States and Canada on its first day, breaking a record previously held by his wife Michelle Obama for Becoming.

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It likely proved popular with readers in Kenya not just for its content but also because of Obama’s Kenyan roots. The former President’s father, Barrack Hussein Obama Snr., hails from Siaya County.

The TBC list features three titles from Kenyan writers; Wanjiru Koinange’s The H***c of Choice, actress Lupita Nyong’o’s Sulwe and late environmental activist Wangari Maathai’s autobiography Unbowed.

The H***c of Choice is second on the TBC best-sellers list. It is Koinange’s debut novel and follows the lives of members of a politician’s family in the context of the 2007/08 Post-Election V******e (PEV) in Kenya.

Koinange explores c********n, politics and v******e through a Kenyan lens, shining a light on the country’s demons.

Sulwe was a critically acclaimed children’s book from Academy award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o.

It tells the story of a young, dark-skinned girl who wants to be considered beautiful and doubts herself. A fantasy-like journey through the night sky, however, changes everything.

The book, published in English and Luo, earned plaudits for tackling issues of colorism and for its message to young African girls.

African writers on the list include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and comedian Trevor Noah for Born a C***e.

Classic books on the best-seller list include Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

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Here is the full list of TBC’s 20 best-sellers of the year:

  1. A Promised Land – Barrack Obama
  2. The H***c of Choice – Wanjiru Koinange
  3. Sulwe – Lupita Nyong’o
  4. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  5. 5 AM Club – Robin Sharma
  6. Born a C***e – Trevor Noah
  7. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
  8. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  9. Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson
  10. Guinness World Records 2020
  11. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  12. Unbowed: One woman’s Story – Wangari Maathai
  13. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  14. Sapiens: A Brief History of humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
  15. The 4 Disciplines of E*******n – Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling
  16. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  17. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
  18. Out of Africa – Karen Blixen
  19. Purble Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  20. The Leader Who Had No Title – Robin Sharma


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