Collaborative Print Run, 2017

In line with our vision that every child should own a hundred books by the age of five, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can reach more children. We believe that large, collaborative print runs are the answer. Find out more about how we did on our first attempt!
All Book Dash titles are available online as ebooks and print-ready files so that anyone can freely read, download and print them. This digital reach was expanded last year with the addition of the free Book Dash Android app. But how do we share the special experience of holding, smelling and paging through a real book? We print and distribute physical copies! To date, we have printed 150 000 copies of Book Dash books for children, but we want to do more…
However, printing is expensive and is only truly viable when printing in big numbers. We can get costs down to R10/copy if we print at least 3000 copies, but few organisations in the NPO-world have the money or need for 3000 copies of one book.
To this end, we invited others to join us to get volumes up and costs down while still printing a variety of titles and languages! Organisations could order as few as 100 copies without compromising the R10/copy price-point.
We’re excited to report that this experiment was a roaring success: we printed 23 100 books in collaboration with 33 organisations in six South African provinces. They’re now on their way into kids’ hands across the country.
We printed one title each in Zulu, Xhosa, Sepedi, Afrikaans and English; that we selected after a scoping phase.
You can replicate the collaborative printing model by linking with like-minded organisations to make large collective orders. If you are interested in organizing a print run of our books, speak to us at We are planning a second run for later in the year, which will be announced here, on our Twitter and Instagram (follow us @bookdash) and through our mailing list. If you haven’t already, sign up for our mail here:
This experiment only worked because people joined together in one unified vision, and pushed themselves to think big. Thank you to everyone who took the plunge. Thank you for supporting our work, and for the special work you do. We hope to have you, and many more on board for the next print run.
Follow the printing process from paper to books below!