Commemorating the National Book Day which falls on May 17, 2019, the National Book Committee (KBN) presents exciting news from the 2019 London Book Fair. Recorded sales of 106 book titles with an economic value equivalent to Rp. 41.79 billion. This achievement far exceeded the previously set target of 50 book titles. This good news is of course a breath of fresh air, especially for the Indonesian book industry when many people are skeptical of the lack of reading interest that is always echoed every year at the National Book Day celebration. The main problem is not a lack of interest in reading but access to books that are difficult to reach for most Indonesians.
One of the events carried out in the framework of the 2019 London Book Fair is to bring British journalists to Indonesia to see the literacy conditions that occur by visiting several literacy initiatives such as Bemo Baca in the area of the Bendungan Hilir apartment complex and Warabal, in the Parung area which is not geographically far from Jakarta, but somehow still have difficulty in accessing reading material. This certainly becomes a joint homework for us and cannot be done instantly.
Chairperson of the National Book Committee, Laura Bangun Prinsloo explained, "There has been a lot of learning obtained by KBN in carrying out its programs and functions so far, including:
1. Strategic planning: Growing a national "book culture" —including fostering interest in reading and literacy, book production, selling copyright, translation, and so on — this of course will not happen overnight. This plan will be long-term for a period of 5, 10, and even 20 years.
2. Long-term investment: As long as it requires long-term planning, funding or long-term investment is also important. This includes the need for multi-year budgets, which is a 3-5 year budget with an overlapping budgets period to ensure a smooth flow of funds.
3. Independence: The establishment of an independent or semi-independent institution with the authority to take the policies needed to make Indonesia a superior provider of intellectual content where the existence of this institution is not influenced by the political situation.
4. Professionalism: The government has to empower the private sector, not regulate it. Supervision is certainly mandatory, but let people who are experts in their fields carry out it without unnecessary interference. "
It is hoped that at the commemoration of this National Book Day, reports on Indonesia's achievement in reaching targets set in participation in international and national book exhibitions, can foster our confidence as a nation that is insightful and knowledgeable and becomes an important reflection for the progress of the Indonesian literary industry.
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