South Africa Retail and Wholesale of Books and Stationery Industry Report - Outside of Newspapers and Journals, South Africa Continues to be a Net Importer of Printed Material

Dublin, March 04, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Retail and Wholesale of Books and Stationery in South Africa 2023" report has been added to's offering.

There are between 150 and 200 publishers, an estimated 1,600 bookshops, around 500 used book stores, 750 stationery wholesalers and 1,547 stationery retailers. The education subsector accounts for 60% of publishing industry revenue, exposing the industry to government's budgetary constraints, where expenditure on materials has declined in real terms.

Poor educational outcomes, high learner dropouts, poor funding of libraries and unaffordable book prices combine to produce low levels of reading. Newspaper and magazine circulation numbers have dropped over time, forcing publishers to produce fewer titles.


  • Growing the number of published indigenous language books.
  • Leverage South Africa's positive trade balance in newspapers, journals and periodicals and calendars and stationery products like envelopes, postcards and registers, account books and note books.
  • The Copyright Amendment Bill to possibly improve power relationships between literary creators and publishers.


  • Input costs for publishers and stationery manufacturers are increasing but the education budget and consumer spending are under pressure.
  • Lack of national policies, strategies, direct funding and/or incentives from government to grow the publishing sector.
  • Lack of transformation in the publishing industry. Poor levels of reading competency create a structural impediment to a reading culture.
  • The Copyright Amendment Bill may reduce private investment in the sector due to loss of control over copyrights.
  • Weak procurement management systems in certain provinces leading to delayed deliveries.


Apart from newspapers, journals and periodicals and calendars, South Africa continues to be a net importer of printed material. National or regional bookseller chains and state and provincial departments are the dominant sales channels for the educational segment. Sales have been on a downward trajectory since 2013. The sales of R16.5bn in 2022 were slightly below pre-pandemic sales. The educational segment forms the core of the book publishing sector, accounting for around 60% of total revenue.


Book revenue is expected to plateau from 2023 to 2026 and decline slightly in 2027. The low current and forecast GDP growth will constrain the extent to which consumers, business and government can increase expenditure on books and stationery. The educational sector will continue to be the largest market for the publishing industry, and provincial governments need to improve procurement management and delivery, especially, in rural areas.

Continued low economic growth, high unemployment and the cost of living will put pressure on discretionary spend and limit publisher revenue growth. Government support, more efficient spending to grow the diversity of authors and languages, and improving libraries may help to increase interest in reading.

Report coverage

This report focuses on the manufacture, publishing, distribution and sale of books and stationery across the educational, academic and trade subsectors.

It includes information on the size and state of the industry, notable players, corporate actions, competition and barriers to entry. There are profiles of 52 companies including major players such as Bidvest, Media 24 and Caxton and CTP, international companies with a presence in South Africa including Oxford University Press and Macmillan South Africa, and local booksellers and stationery stores such as Exclusive Books, Book Lounge, Love Books, PNA and major supermarket groups.

Key Topics Covered:


2.1. Industry Value Chain
2.2. Geographic Position
2.3. Size of the Industry

3.1. State of the Industry
3.2. Key Trends
3.3. Key Issues
3.4. Notable Players
3.5. Trade
3.6. Corporate Actions
3.7. Regulations
3.8. Enterprise Development and Social Development



6.1. Economic Environment
6.2. Labour
6.3. Environmental Issues
6.4. Technology, R&D, Innovation
6.5. Government Support
6.6. Input Costs

7.1. Competition
7.2. Ownership Structure of the Industry
7.3. Barriers to Entry





  • A100 ROW Inc
  • Africa Online Retail (Pty) Ltd
  • Amazon Data Services Inc
  • Amazon US Services LLC
  • Inc
  • BK Ink CC
  • Book Lounge CC
  • Books Magazines and Stationery CC
  • Bridge Books CC
  • C Thompson
  • Christelike Uitgewersmaatskappy (Pty) Ltd
  • Estoril Books and Stationers (Fourways) (Pty) Ltd
  • Evera Publishing (Pty) Ltd
  • Exclusive Books Group (Pty) Ltd
  • Executive Information Services CC
  • Fogarty's Bookshop CC
  • Forms Media Independent (Africa) (Pty) Ltd
  • Freedom Stationery (Pty) Ltd
  • JB Retail 2401 (Pty) Ltd
  • Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd
  • KND Trade CC
  • Love Books (Pty) Ltd
  • Macmillan South Africa (Pty) Ltd
  • Massmart Holdings (Pty) Ltd
  • Media24 (Pty) Ltd
  • Melbro Retail (Pty) Ltd
  • Mind Matters Educational Book Distributers CC
  • Office National Africa (Pty) Ltd
  • Pick n Pay Stores Ltd
  • PNA Stationers (Pty) Ltd
  • Procure Trade (Pty) Ltd
  • RNA Retail Group (Pty) Ltd
  • Shoprite Foundation
  • Shoprite Holdings Ltd
  • SPAR Group Ltd (The)
  • Takealot Online (RF) (Pty) Ltd
  • Tasmaya Wholesalers CC
  • Thuthuka Nathi Ventures (Pty) Ltd
  • Van Schaik Bookstore (Pty) Ltd
  • Van's Office Supplies (Eastern Cape) CC
  • Virtual Bookshelf CC
  • West Pack Life Style (Pty) Ltd
  • Wordsworth Books CC

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