The National Book Development Board
(The Philippine Star) – November 21, 2020 – 12:00am
Research upon research I was curious about books and publishing and how this connects to the whole idea of readership. Hence, I stumbled upon the NBDB or the National Book Development Board and learned why it matters. The NBDB is an agency of the Philippine government under the Department of Education which was formed through Republic Act No. 8047, more popularly known as the Book Publishing Industry Act. RA 8047 acknowledges that this industry plays a very important role in national development simply because books both contribute and influence the development of the people, psychologically, technically and culturally. All these in turn form the most basic social foundation for the progress of a country.
Reading books are important because it develops our thoughts, gives endless knowledge and enriches us. Books are the most effective tool in achieving educational growth as well as preserving our national heritage. The book publishing industry therefore is a powerful instrument that is key to unlocking our country’s creative potential.
However, with the advancement of technology, the demand for printed books has been challenging for local publishers. Through RA 8047, continuing development of the book publishing industry instills both a policy and development plan and works with the private sector, ensuring enough supply for both local and foreign markets.
A National Book Development Plan provides basis for ensuring progressive growth of the book publishing industry. In a readership survey that showcased the reading behavior and patterns of purchase of Filipinos in 2017, it was found out that many of our kababayans still prefer to read printed books, with e-books and audio books falling not far behind.
The survey showed that more adults and children spend more hours reading e-books rather than printed books. It also showed that parents are the champions of reading and that for us Filipinos, we read because we want to learn more.
The most popular book read by adults is still the Bible based on a 2017 survey by the NBDB, while the youth still chose story books and picture books.
Although television and social media play a big role in terms of how our youth decides on what to read, again, parents are the driving force behind the value of reading, with teachers placing second.
It is important for us to understand why a readership survey is important. At a time when government is fueling much resources into education, a readership survey helps all of us understand reading habits and attitudes of Filipinos, with results used to determine the development of content in support of our government.
It is also an industry that is seen to contribute to the country’s economic growth. Road maps have been implemented in developing both the printing and publishing industry, where our government remains to be fully supportive in order to be more globally competitive.
The NBDB is the catalyst for building a culture of reading, bearing in mind that through this, we also empower all those who believe that reading helps us to understand better, how and why it takes every one of us, big or small, to participate in nation building.