Book Development

‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ ~ Nelson Mandela

PAMSA firmly believes that access to books from an early age is the sharp edge of the spear of this ‘most powerful weapon’. That said, we are never too old to learn or read.

By equipping citizens of all ages with books to read, we give them the ability to learn, to gain knowledge and to participate in the economy.  Can there be a greater gift?

This is one of the reasons why PAMSA is proud to be a member of the South African Book Development Council which is building an army and nation of readers.

According a 2010 study1 by the University of Stellenbosch, the cost of functional illiteracy to South Africa’s economy in unrealised GDP is estimated at R550 billion annually. 

Along with a group of diverse stakeholders operating within the book value chain, PAMSA is a member of the SABDC, the representative body of the country’s book sector.  Three national government departments – Arts and Culture, Basic Education and Trade and Industry, form part of the council.

The council champions a growth and development strategy for the entire book sector, with two of its flagship programmes being the annual National Book Week reading promotion campaign and its Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme. It follows a comprehensive, integrated approach to book development, and as such facilitates capacity building among SMMEs. It has highlighted the critical shortage of quality editing in the indigenous languages.

In line with its ambit of increasing access to books, the council has been looking at library procurement as although library budgets have increased, there is a decline in books being procured.

1 The costs of illiteracy in South Africa – A Working Paper of the Department of Economics and the Bureau for Economic Research at the University of Stellenbosch. Martin Gustafsson, Servaas van der Berg, Debra Shepherd and Cobus Burger (2010)

The findings from a 2007 study by the SABDC determined that, only 14% of the country’s people are avid book readers and a mere 5% of parents read to their children. The survey also indicated that 51% of households in South Africa did not have a single book in their home. (Photo: SABDC)
The findings from a 2007 study by the SABDC determined that, only 14% of the country’s people are avid book readers and a mere 5% of parents read to their children. The survey also indicated that 51% of households in South Africa did not have a single book in their home. (Photo: SABDC)
Various studies have shown that paper-based materials promote reading comprehension, information retention and learning, and that print-based texts have been found to be superior to digital texts in facilitating learning strategies. (Photo: istockphoto)
Various studies have shown that paper-based materials promote reading comprehension, information retention and learning, and that print-based texts have been found to be superior to digital texts in facilitating learning strategies. (Photo: istockphoto)