National Book Day in Indonesia, ratified by former Minister of Education, Abdul Malik on May 17 2002, was adopted from the inauguration of National Museum on May 17 1980. Although the celebration is never as lively as national music or film days, the National Book Day should be celebrated by book readers. The day is aimed at enhancing interest in reading books among Indonesian people. Reading culture and book sales increase is also expected results from the Day.
National Book Day in Indonesia shares vision and mission with the global version namely celebrating reading culture to gain more insights, creativity, and imagination. World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated by UNESCO and other related organizations on April 23 annually. The date was chosen by UNESCO to pay respect for world’s greatest literature figures such as William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega who passed away on April 23rd. It was first proclaimed in 1995 during UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France to respect all writers and books across the globe. Besides respect, World Book Day is celebrated to recognize scope of book as the bridge between the past and the future, as well as every culture and generation.
The old saying “book is a window to the world” is true. In the past, Indonesian independence proclaimer, Moh. Hatta would voluntarily be imprisoned if accompanied with books. It signifies that book is also an important need. A lot of knowledge is accessible only through books. For this year’s World Book Day, Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay said that books are also a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a language-specific reading audience.
Based on survey in 2005, Indonesians’ reading interest was averagely 18 thousand books only per year. This number is very possible for increase. Books and reading are a close unity. Besides, there should be a platform for book appreciation and writers’ creativity through competition in all education levels. Competition will be the reason for the available and future best authors to keep writing. Still, the real appreciation for authors is buying their original prints instead of the pirated copies.
Happy National Book Day of Indonesia! Happy reading and improving insight, and appreciating the works of your local authors!