Photo: Wordworks

Much has been said about the great need to make quality local books available and affordable, especially for young children. 

During literacy month in September, we are celebrating a collaborative initiative that is making it possible for many more children to have beautiful books in their own language.

Through an initiative between NGOs and publishers, 16 organisations have been able to purchase 12 402 children’s books in six languages for an average of R21 per title! 

This project was initiated by Biblionef, Wordworks, Smartstart, Blue Door ECE and Nal’ibali, who selected titles, sent out a call for interest to NGOs and worked with publishers to co-ordinate bulk printing orders. 

The total cost of books at trade prices would have been R870 000. With this bulk purchase we paid R443 000.

This project is a great example of organisations working together with publishers to make quality books more affordable, and to ensure that children are able to read and enjoy books in their own languages. 

Half of the titles that were printed in the collaborative print run were in African languages, and Carol Broomhall of Jacana explains: “The bulk order allowed us to print across a range of languages and the numbers were crucial in terms of being able to push the print button. 

"It is impossible to print small quantities of different titles in a range of languages at an affordable price.”

At Wordworks, we will be distributing books to schools and partners who use our programmes. We know that each one of these books will find its way into the hands of children whose teachers, parents and caregivers are already doing so much to promote literacy in their homes, classrooms and communities.

Dr Shelley O’Carroll

Director Wordworks