Only 14% of South Africans read books for leisure, according to the South African Books Development council.
It's reported that 500 000 books are sold annually across the country - which only equates to 1% of South African leisure readers.
Reading advocate Tebogo Ditshego says the cost of books is among the many factors which contribute to low book reading culture.
But the fact that very few citizens read for leisure means that the production costs are higher per local book printed.
If a lot of South Africans were reading books, then publishers would set out higher book runs and the costs of the book would go down.— Tebogo Ditshego, CEO and Founder of ReadabookSA and SA Reading Foundation
Ditshego says that the SA Reading Foundation is lobbying for the end of VAT on books to make them more accessible and appealing to the public.
He founded ReadaBookSA, the country's biggest online book club, in order to help encourage young people to invest in reading culture.
Ditshego spoke about the pros and cons of self-publishing versus signing with a major publishing company.
He and Friday Stand-In Frank Magwegwe also reflected on the power of books to inspire and bring about personal change.
Below is a recommended December Holiday reading list:
From Tebogo Ditshego:
- My Own Liberator, a memoir by Justice Dikgang Moseneke
- Half of a Yellow Sun (or anything else) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs by Gina Keating
- Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo
- Icarus by Deon Meyer
- Get That Feeling by Ian Fuhr
- Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi
From Frank Magwegwe:
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- Affluenza by Niq Mhlongo
- Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
- How to Think Like a CEO by Debra Benton
Listen to the inspiring conversation here:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Why VAT on books must fall (and 11 page-turners to keep you busy these holidays)