National Book Day in Indonesia Date in the current year: May 17, 2024

National Book Day in Indonesia National Book Day (Hari Buku Nasional), also known as Indonesian Book Day, is celebrated in Indonesia annually on May 17. Its was created to promote literacy and reading in Indonesian society and support the country’s publishing industry.

Indonesia’s National Book Day was initiated by the then Minister of National Education Abdul Malik Fadjar, who wanted to foster an interest in reading, boost literacy rates, and increase book sales. Its date was chosen to commemorate the founding anniversary of the National Library of Indonesia that was established on May 17, 1980. The inaugural celebration of National Book Day took place on May 17, 2002.

On the occasion National Book Day, Indonesian publishers, bookstores, educational and cultural institutions, and other stakeholders organize various events and activities such as book presentations, meetings with authors, book discussions, giveaways, poetry readings, literary contests, exhibitions, and more. Indonesians can join the celebration by attending one of these events, supporting their favorite bookstores, joining a book club, picking up a new book to read, and sharing reviews and book quotes on social media to get other readers interested in their favorite books.

Chairman of the Indonesian Publishers Association (IKAPI) once encouraged book lovers to celebrate National Book Day a little like Valentine’s Day: to give books as presents to their loved ones in order to share their love of reading and introduce the people in their lives to the wonderful world of literature and reading.

Indonesian Book Day events are also held abroad to promote Indonesian literature and publishers in other parts of the world. For example, in 2022, the National Library of Australia, which holds the largest collection of Indonesian books and newspapers in Australia, organized various events and activities to promote its Indonesian collection.

The literacy rate in Indonesia has increased significantly since the introduction of National Book Day, growing from almost 87% in 1980 to 96% in 2020. The publishing industry of Indonesia has also been growing over the past few years. For example, in 2018, the number of published titles and ISBNs in Indonesia was 89,056 and 95,852, respectively (the number of ISBN’s is higher than number of titles because different editions of the same book, i.e. paperback and hardback, may have different ISBNs); in 2021, these numbers reached 147,404 and 159,329, respectively. Of course, National Book Day was not the only factor that contributed to this growth, but it probably helped.

National Book Day isn’t the only Indonesian holiday dedicated to books, literacy and literature. For example, National Poetry Day, also known as National Literature Day, is observed on April 28 to commemorate the death anniversary of the renowned Indonesian poet Chairil Anwar. Another thematically related holiday, National Education Day, is celebrated on May 2 to mark the birthday of Ki Hajar Dewantara, an Indonesian independence movement activist who fought for the right of native Indonesians for education during the Dutch colonial era.

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