In 2014, a group of friends with a background in publishing launched Book Dash in South Africa. Their goal was simple yet ambitious: to flood the country with affordable, high-quality books for children, especially in African languages. The founders, Arthur Attwell, Michelle Matthews, and Tarryn-Anne Anderson, started this venture to address the lack of access to appropriate storybooks for children. This initiative quickly grew into a non-profit organisation committed to creating, printing, and distributing these books at low cost.

The Challenge

As Book Dash’s library of charming books grew, so did the challenge of managing the metadata for an ever-increasing number of products. The organisation needed an efficient way to handle this information to ensure that the books reached their intended audiences quickly and the creative volunteers could see the impact of their efforts.

The Solution from Consonance

Consonance provided Book Dash with a personalised metadata management system designed to meet their needs. Our system features a robust and flexible platform for managing their extensive book catalogue (800+ books), combined with a user-friendly interface. Now, with all metadata centralised in one location, Consonance has become the single source of truth for Book Dash. Gone are the days of scattered spreadsheets and databases; processes ranging from managing book metadata and dashboards to updating the website are now aligned and streamlined according to international standards following Consonance’s structure of categories and tags.

Screenshot of Book Dash's product page in Consonance

This automation has significantly reduced Book Dash’s administrative burden, freeing them to focus more intently on their core mission. Seamless integration with Consonance’s GraphQL API has revolutionised how Book Dash updates its book records online, ensuring that the latest metadata is automatically and efficiently incorporated directly from Consonance.

Following a recent website upgrade, users also now enjoy an improved capability to search and filter books by language and theme. This enhancement, powered by BISAC and language data already stored in Consonance, allows users to customise their browsing experience, making it easier for them to discover books that align perfectly with their interests and requirements.

Enhanced Decision-Making with Dashboards

The introduction of management dashboards at Book Dash has made a big difference in how they plan and report on their activities. These dashboards pull together data from Consonance’s GraphQL API and other sources, automating the process to give a full picture of Book Dash’s book catalogue and operations. This setup makes it much easier for the team to keep an eye on how things are going, see the real effect of their efforts, and tweak their approach as needed—all more efficiently and with better transparency. Thanks to this use of technology, manual data handling is cut down, freeing up more time for Book Dash to focus on getting books into the hands of children. Plus, it helps them keep a clear and detailed record of what’s working well and what could be better, guiding them to make meaningful improvements in making books more accessible.

Screenshot of Book Dash's management dashboards

Tracking impact with Creatives Dashboards

Since partnering with Consonance, Book Dash has improved its approach to engaging with creative volunteers, transitioning from a labour-intensive, manual method of compiling and disseminating updates to a streamlined and effective strategy. The introduction of a Creatives Dashboard template, which incorporates real-time data from Consonance, enables Book Dash to furnish volunteers with personalised insights. These dashboards provide a detailed summary of the volunteers’ contributions and the tangible impact their work has made on the world. This shift not only conserves time but also greatly enhances the volunteer experience by offering a quicker and more meaningful feedback mechanism. The creation of these individual dashboards, showcasing updates on the books contributed to and their influence, marks a significant improvement over the previous system, where gathering and sharing such information was a cumbersome annual task. This innovative approach underscores Book Dash’s commitment to recognising and valuing the vital role of its creative community.

Screenshot of Book Dash's creatives dashboards

Screenshot of Book Dash's creatives dashboards


Consonance supported the transformation of the operations at Book Dash, streamlining the data management of their ever-expanding book collection and enabling more informed decision-making through effective data integration. This change increased the organisation’s accountability and transparency with stakeholders but also allowed Book Dash to concentrate more on its core mission rather than being bogged down by administrative tasks. The improved system noticeably enhanced their metadata management and the integrity of their data, ensuring that more children have access to good quality stories.

The collaboration between Book Dash and Consonance showcases how the power of technology when used well can support social initiatives to succeed and grow. We are delighted to support Book Dash to advance their goal of making quality storybooks easily available and boosting book ownership among South Africa’s youngest children and wish them every success!

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