East African Book Development Association

Enhancing Literacy for Poverty Eradication

A Case for Book Development

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The book industry plays a central role in the delivery of education through the production and distribution of teaching and learning materials responsive to national curricula. It additionally provides relevant information at the community level. 

East Africa's book industry needs to be strengthened for it to produce affordable books that are tailored to local needs as opposed to the highly priced imported books with extraneous content currently flooding the markets. Locally published books are more desirable because they reflect the social and cultural heritage of the people. They preserve useful knowledge on traditional value systems and practices relating to governance, food production, management of the environment, health, etc.

In order to write, publish and distribute locally relevant and affordable books, practitioners require an enabling environment. At present, the sector is strained by high taxation, unharmonized curricula, rigid textbook approval systems, cumbersome cross-border trade procedures, etc. This myriad of challenges can best be addressed by enacting a comprehensive regional book policy to facilitate indigenous publishing and cross border trade.

Additionally, being a relatively young industry, with marginal markets, publishing in East Africa is a capital intensive venture which does not attract many investors. Governments too have not given due attention to its development and, therefore, apart from textbooks the other areas, including academic and general books, remain largely unpublished. For the sector to grow it requires financial support towards product generation and market expansion.

EABDA facilitates and organizes national and regional consultative seminars to discuss and design programmes on the development of the region's book sector.  Some of the projects implemented since 2000 include professional workshops for the improvement of skills across the industry, book fairs and exhibitions to promote books to wider markets, book donations and teacher-training to expand the school and community library networks especially in rural areas, and reading tents to nurture the reading culture particularly among children.

News Updates
01 May, 2011
EABDA launched three new programmes in April 2011.
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"People that read know better than those who don´t."
Lwosi, 1995
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