This week two of the world’s biggest book fairs and the world’s longest book fair are happening simultaneously. The Kolkata International Book Fair in India and the Cairo International Book Fair in Egypt are the two of the biggest, while the Ekushey Boi Mela in Bangladesh is “the biggest gathering of Bangladesh citizens anywhere in the country” and lasts the entire month of February.
The Indian sub-continent book fair season is drawing to a close, just as the Arab season starts, and it promises to be the best yet for the Middle East North Africa region as the Arab book market takes off.
As well as the Cairo Fair, the Casablanca International Book Fair also happens this February (a mere 350,000 visitors expected), and now there’s a new kid on the Arab book fairs block.
Not content with the Riyadh and Jeddah International Book Fairs in Saudi Arabia, this February Saudi readers are in for a further treat.
Nasher, the professional hub for Arab publishers, is reporting a new book fair will launch Feb 28 in Al Qassim, Saudi Arabia’s central region, with the participation of more than 100 publishers from the Kingdom and beyond.
The move comes as a result of the ever-growing demand for new titles and publications in the nation’s book market.
Nasher reports the Saudi Publishers Association
has pledged to reduce the price of books on display by at least 25% and allocate a dedicated space for young entrepreneurs, which will not only act as a space for selling books, but also as a platform for cultural, educational and social activities.
The Arab book market is one of the most neglected by western publishers, but presents exciting opportunities. No less than three Arab book fairs attract more than one million visitors each year, with Sharjah (UAE) the second biggest book fair in the world.