History of the SABF

Established in 2006 as the Cape Town Book Fair, this South African event has done much for the local book industry. Originally managed by PASA, the Publishers’ Association of South Africa, the fair moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg in 2015, becoming the South African Book Fair with an aim to be more representative of the country as a whole.

The hugely successful theme for last year’s event was Discovering your ‘Bookself’ referring to the way that the books you read are representative of who you are as a person. The aim was to inspire people in South Africa to read, and lots of effort went into making sure attendants discovered books and authors that they could connect with.

Organisers also saw a very positive response from small publishers who had the opportunity to apply for funding from FP&M SETA for a stand in 2015 and it is excellent that the FP&M Seta is again offering sponsorship to SMME’s in 2017.


Throughout the history of the fair the aim has been to focus on books and their authors. The event is s a platform for connecting, engaging and discussing, for learning about seasoned authors and uncovering new ones. A nation that reads is a nation equipped to move forward. Which is why, for the last nine years, the South African Book Fair has brought together a community of publishers, novelists, writers, e-publishers, self-publishers and – most of all – book lovers, to revel in the love of books and foster a culture of reading.

In late 2016 the SABDC took ownership of the South African Book Fair which will now be incorporated into the successful annual National Book Week, which has already established itself in the SA calendar in the first full week of September.