You couldn’t make it up. The world’s biggest book fair is in a part of the world where, so conventional wisdom has it, nobody reads.
Egypt’s Cairo International Book Fair will celebrate its 50th edition in January, with the Arab League as guest of honour for this special event, and literally millions of visitors will flock to Cairo for the occasion.
The 50th Cairo Book Fair logo has just been revealed today.
This summer Egypt expanded its regional book fairs to the Mediterranean resorts –
But of course an international book fair is a gateway event, in this case bringing the world’s literature to Egypt and allowing Egypt’s literature an opportunity to reach the wider world.
That’s always been the case with book fairs, but at no time more so than at the tail end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, when the potential reach of literature has never been greater.
The Arab Renaissance is driven by digital even if ebooks themselves are not yet a significant part of the Arab book market landscape.
That will come, and Egyptian publishers are now working with Amazon to that end, but for now it is digital social media that drives awareness of books and literature in the Arab lands and around the world, and that finds Egypt’s supposed non-readers buying books by the suitcase at the Cairo International Book Fair.
Will the 2019 Cairo fair do even better? There’s every likelihood.
Meanwhile the Sharjah International Book Fair kicks off end October, and that too will attract literally millions of visitors spending millions of dollars on millions of books in the lands where nobody reads.