The South African Book Fair, managed and run by the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), is part of a much bigger and deeper strategy that encompasses the overall development of our nation’s book sector.


2006 - Establishment

Established in 2006 as the Cape Town Book Fair and originally managed by the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA).

2015 - Moved to JHB

The fair moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg in 2015 and was rebranded as the South African Book Fair – with an aim to be more representative of the country as a whole.

2016 - Taken over by SABDC

In late 2016 the SABDC took ownership of the South African Book Fair, which is now incorporated into our successful annual National Book Week (NBW). NBW is a reading promotion campaign which has already established itself as a highlight on the national calendar and takes place during the first full week of September.

2017 - We answered the call

In 2017 we set out to respond to the mounting calls for a showcase reflective and
representative of a South African and African literary culture.

2019 - SABF moves to Constitution Hill

After two years in the dynamic Newtown Precinct, the South African Book Fair moved to Constitution Hill, once a place for the imprisonment of anti-apartheid activists.

2020 - Launch into the virtual realm

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the South African Book Development Council and the FP&M Seta made the decision to take the Fair virtual in a committed effort to showcase, support and connect the industry. The platform promises to provide trading opportunities and aims to ensure that books and reading stay within people’s consciousness.

As part of this journey, the SABDC committed to:

  • giving all South Africans greater access to the event; and
  • engaging audiences who ordinarily do not form part of mainstream book-industry events.

Presented by the South African Book Development Council, in proud association with the Fibre, Processing and Manufacturing SETA.