Happy World Book Day from Blue Weaver
It often seems a shame that only one world day a year is set aside to celebrate books
Usually in SA, the National Book Week programme would make entire month out of this day. They would target various publishers and bookstores and involve them in the initiative to spread the joy of reading and to get books to those communities that do not have easy access to reading material. They would encourage the public to buy books for donation at only R10 or R20 per book.
However, as we all know, things haven’t worked out exactly the way we planned this year. Many events and programmes have either been cancelled or parties are trying their best to move their programmes online. And many are successful at this – the National Book Week programme is having a live storytime reading for children at 11h00 while Zukiswa Wanner is currently hosting her second session of the e-literary festival, Afrolit Sans Frontières
But a lot of us are still missing the human factor – to physically engage with like-minded people, to expand your thinking with new ideas when you listen to a panel, to meet your favourite author, or to just bask in the glow of a safe space because you’re among other readers.
While we’re in the business of books and it’s directly linked to our livelihood, being a distributor, as opposed to a publisher, possibly gives us a unique view on books. As a distributor, we’re the link between the publisher and the reader. We function as a connection and know that a single book or idea can connect different people from different places.
And that’s the message we would like to send our publishers, authors, and readers today. Even though we are socially distant – on different continents, in different cities, or just in different rooms – we are still linked through our ideas. Somewhere, someone is reading the same book or the same author as you. Someone is learning about your country’s history or natural wildlife. Someone is learning how to speak your home language.
Books connect us and open the world to us. That’s why it’s a privilege to be in this industry