By Caroline Evari

A fellow Papua New Guinean author once told me, “I gave up drinking when I got the response from my fellow Papua New Guinean menfolk that my K50 book was too expensive. A carton of beer seemed more affordable than a reading book”

How many of us have picked up a PNG authored book and gave the exact response?

I have watched people debate all over social media about the “price tags” that are associated to certain products, be it shoes, bags, perfumes, clothing, or gadgets. The same product being charged a little higher by another while being charged a little lower by the other. The most common responses to these are freight costs, customs clearance, labor, markup, transport etc. I’ve even seen entrepreneurs explain some of the lengthy and costly process they must go through with just to bring in or create their products I think to myself, “I hear you and I feel you”.

Just like every entrepreneur, an author invests their time and resource to create a product to sell. The one difference that sets a book apart from other products is value it carries within its content. One book can impact an individual, a family, a community, a village, or a country. If you have ten people in your home, you don’t necessarily have to buy 10 books because that one book can be read by 10 people. It does not matter what the size, shape or color of the book is, it serves its purpose. If you buy a size 16 meri blouse of K50, it can only be worn by a woman who can fit into it. It complements the customers look and size, puts money into the seller’s pocket to help her grow her business or support her household. That meri blouse loses its value overtime, the book does not. The color may fade, the pages may tear, it could get burnt and disappear but it’s content – the words, memories, emotions, and story lives within those who have held it.

With the 2022 national elections coming up, I’d like to see a political party with a policy aimed at improving the country’s literacy rate and Human Development Index. A policy that is specific to prioritizing libraries and books. Bringing back into society what use to be the norm. Reading in public places – in the bus, in the long queues, at the marketplaces, bus stops etc. We say that PNG’s official language is English, yet the standard of English today is below average and is evident particularly on most social media platforms.

To be able to speak better English one must read. To be able to write better English one must read. Having access to books makes these possible.

When you spend K50 on a PNG authored book, you are:

1. Buying knowledge.

2. Making an investment – One book priced at K50 educates 10 people at value of K500 or 20 people at a value of K1,000.

3. Preserving and promoting local knowledge and literature. In the same way as promoting a local SME

4. Creating a chain reaction. Tapping into that space of inspiring more Papua New Guineans to get into the habit of reading and writing.

So you see, buying a PNG authored book goes beyond supporting a local author. If you would like to get into this space, you can start by purchasing a book authored by a Papua New Guinean today.

To get a copy of my children’s story book, send me an email on caroline.evari@gmail.com.

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.


  1. I agree with everything you’ve said Caroline but I might also add that books can be life changing too.

    I can recall several books that changed the way I viewed certain things and others that actually led to changing my lifestyle.

    Professor Peter Singer’s 1970s book ‘Animal Liberation’ turned me into a vegetarian, something I’ve been glad about ever since but particularly after I developed diabetes and had to control my diet.

    Reading authors like John Steinbeck changed my views about money and what a waste of time it was chasing it to the exclusion of all the better things in life.

    Reading PNG authors, as I’ve said elsewhere, taught me a lot more about the country and its people than actually living and working there.

    A little paperback book with creased pages and maybe a rip and a stain here and there is a self-contained powerhouse that puts your average sanguma in the shade.

    Liked by 1 person

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