Fostering a reading culture

2019-08-15 06:01
The launch of the #buyabook campaign.

The launch of the #buyabook campaign.

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The annual #buyabook campaign, one of the cornerstones of South Africa’s reading awareness week, was launched last Thursday (8 August) and will run until 8 September.

It coincides with National Book Week (NBW), from 2 to 7 September, which encourages reading and promotes the importance of books. According to the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), 58% of homes in South Africa do not have a single leisure reading book.

Celebrated in the first week of September each year, NBW is driven by the Department of Arts and Culture and the South African Book Development Council.

This year marks a decade of NBW raising awareness of SA’s low reading culture and the state of the book industry. The campaign was launched in 2010 in response to a study commissioned by the SABDC into the book reading habits of adult South Africans. The statistics revealed SA’s poor reading culture, that just 14% of South Africans actively read, while an alarming 73% of adult South Africans claimed not to be interested in books.

This year, the #buyabook campaign will once again be supported by Exclusive Books and Bargain Books. All South Africans are encouraged to #buyabook from the select list of titles, which includes books in indigenous language. The books cost only R20.

To this end a donation of books is called for and can be dropped in book bins prominently displayed at the stores. As before, the books are suitable for all ages, and books in indigenous languages are especially sought after.

This is in line with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, a United Nations observance in 2019, which aims to raise awareness of the endangerment of indigenous languages globally.

The donated books are collected at the end of the National Book Week from all participating stores and shared with reading promotion projects around the country, which donate it to institutions and provinces that host reading festivals.

V For more on the ways you can get involved, visit


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