Books are seen as a catalyst for mental growth and social integration. The impacts of books in literacy development is unquantifiable and this is why the degree of development in a nation can be strictly attached to its degree of literacy which books stimulate. Nevertheless, the local book industry has been bedevilled by various challenges despite its small size, and that has affected different players, including writers. For instance, in late 2020, when she started her journey towards publishing her first book, Esther Uwase didn’t have information regarding how she could go about the dream. Worse still was that the people she approached, hoping to get help, weren’t willing to disclose any information. That, she says, made her spend a lot of money and time trying to figure things out, but still didn’t get something tangible. “I remember that one of the publishers that I approached told me: go and grow up first and then come back; that’s when we will publish your book,” narrates Uwase. “Some people in the industry,” she continues. “Still think that if you are young, you don’t have the brains to write some books. They feel like you should just write children's books but not a self-help book or something beyond.” Uwase is one of many emerging Rwandan writers who undergo the same challenges on their journeys toward publication. After encountering the challenge, she was dispirited for a while but later on, she managed to get back on her feet after finding out that she could self-publish her book on Amazon. The 20-year-old currently has two books, License to Thrill, a self-help and A Conversation with Dusk, a poetry collection – the books she says have been appreciated by different readers and earned her some money, let alone associated job opportunities. However, Uwase still finds a lack of quality papers and the high cost of the available ones as a big challenge that makes Rwandan authors sell fewer copies and hinder the purchasing capacity of readers. “If we can get quality papers at a cheaper price locally, we will be able to produce hard copies of high quality at a cheaper price that is affordable by many Rwandans,” she said. Uwase also urges ‘old’ writers to recognise the emerging ones and offer them guidance and support throughout their journey instead of belittling them. Gisa Shyaka, an author and a publisher based in Kigali highlights the issue of scarcity of good standard book editors as a challenge, asserting that more are needed to ensure that books written by local authors are released with quality content. He also calls for enforcement of the culture of reading and writing among Rwandans which he says is still poor and believes that the more it’ll be put into effect, the better writers Rwanda will have. Tackling books digitisation, Shyaka mentioned that the approach can help but not on a big part, declaring that book lovers still prefer paperbacks over e-books, adding that however, digitising books should also be put into consideration because some people like to read on their gadgets. As a global case, several traditional publishers have delved into digital layouts and online publications to ensure their book successfully reaches the readers. Speaking during the celebration of the International African Writer’s Day on November 7, Robert Masozera, Director General of Rwanda Cultural and Heritage Academy (RCHA) underscored that technology can play a big part in enhancing the culture of reading and writing in Rwanda as it has done in different sectors, unveiling that there is a plan to digitise more books by local authors as well as different bookshops and libraries. He recognises that the local book industry “is not on a good level because a number of books that talk about Rwanda are being written by foreigners and that the number of writers, publishing houses and active book readers is still low.” Masozera is also aware that most books written by local authors are either about the Genocide against the Tutsi or pedagogic, declaring that there is still a gap concerning other topics such as culture, social life, and psychology, among others and yet today, Rwanda is a country that is rich in content. He noted that RCHA will keep supporting writers and advocating for them so that they can produce and sell their books, adding that the institution has planned different campaigns aiming to enhance the culture of reading and writing across the country. Recently, different players in the local book industry have also made a call for a national book policy which usually aims to ensure that books and other reading materials are developed and made commonplace for the purpose of supporting education, literacy and lifelong learning. Commenting on that, Masozera said that the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Culture and affiliated institutions like RCHA have prepared the policy, but it has coincided with the ongoing renewals of the national culture and education policies that will shed light on how it will be implemented. Jean Marie Vianney Rurangwa, Vice President of Rwanda’s Book Industry Federation declared that the organisation also seeks to enforce mobilisation regarding the importance of reading and writing among Rwandans, especially young people, cultivating the culture in them. He added that there is also a need for more publishing houses as well as capacity-building initiatives dedicated to different players in the local book industry, declaring that the result could benefit both the writers and readers.