All National Book Week events aim to convey an important message, encouraging reading as an enjoyable pursuit, with each event, province, or location tailoring the programme to meet local demands. SABDC advocates for a significant emphasis on supporting native languages, local writers, and raising awareness about libraries and legit gambling sites in South Africa.

The South African Book Development Council looks forward to sharing the love of reading with all South Africans once again. A reading nation is a leading nation!



National Reading Survey

The primary aim of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) is to increase access to books in South Africa. This report describes the findings of robust research that uncovered the reading habits of adult South Africans from a variety of angles with a view to find change in patterns of reading behaviour and informing strategy for the SABDC to meet its core objective of increasing access to books.

National Book Week

Run by the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) in partnership with the Department Of Arts and Culture, National Book Week is South Africa’s official reading awareness week – celebrating its fifteenth anniversary with the hashtag #NBWturns10 in 2024.

NBW aims to mitigate the findings of the 2007 study that revealed that:

Every year, during the first week of September, people, organisations, companies, schools, libraries and religious groups channel their efforts towards reading and book promotion. As the SABDC, they visit locations in all 9 provinces to engage with audiences from all walks of life. Pre-schoolers, grade R to 12 learners, the youth, adults, and elders from communities throughout the country participate in various programme activities. This annual campaign is aimed at uncovering the thrill and magic of sharing #OURSTORIES by increasing access to books and changing perceptions around reading.

About the SABDC

The South African Book Development Council (SABDC) serves as the authoritative organization for the South African Book Sector. The primary aim of the SABDC is to increase access to books in South Africa and to get more citizens reading for leisure.

To achieve these goals the SABDC facilitates ongoing engagement with stakeholders from across the book value chain, in order to identify programmes that stimulate book development in the country.

“Books and reading can’t cease to exist because of the pandemic. More than ever, it’s crucial that South Africa celebrates the importance of reading and books; hence we ask the country to join us in bringing more books to the people.”

“Authors write books during the most catastrophic human experiences. They record and capture these moments, good and bad, which allow the reader to transcend the barriers they face in everyday life,” – says Elitha van der Sandt, CEO, SABDC.

National Book Week is South Africa’s dedicated reading awareness week. A time for any and every one to get involved in promoting the magic of books and reading in their communities, place of work, schools, religious institutions and most importantly, in the home.

NBW is implemented annually by the SABDC in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture and takes place during the first week of September. This year, we will continue to celebrate a decade of book magic from 7 – 13 September 2024.

What Is Book Development?

UNESCO coined the term to cover the myriad of people, processes, and skills involved in making and reading a book. Book development is necessary not only to create more books or output but also to produce different kinds of outputs from those previously produced and to change the technical and institutional arrangements by which output is produced and distributed.

Is Book Development Necessary for South Africa?

Yes, we need more local books. Yes, we need more indigenous language and diverse content books. Yes, we need transformation and investment in the sector to better serve all South Africans.

The History of Book Development

During the mid-1960s, UNESCO organized a sequence of regional gatherings across Asia, Africa, the Arab States, and Latin America to evaluate the enduring requirements for books and assist in working out national policies and strategies to overcome the dearth of books in these areas. It was at these meetings that UNESCO also encouraged the formation of national book development councils which could significantly contribute to the promotion and coordination of all facets of book development in alignment with broader national development objectives.


During the period from 4th to 8th September, ambassadors of National Book Week (NBW) embark on a nationwide tour to share personal anecdotes about the significance of books in their own experiences. They actively participate in NBW events, engage in reading sessions with children, and advocate for the value of books and reading.

The 2017 Ambassadors

National Book Week Ambassadors 2016

National Book Week Ambassadors 2015