Al Ain is not the biggest book fair in Abu Dhabi – that won’t be until April 2019 when the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair kicks off – but Al Ain, running September 23 through October 2, is one of countless book fairs I’ll be reporting on across the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region as we head into 2019.

This year the 2018 Abu Dhabi IBF attracted some 350,000 visitors, so we’re not talking village fetes here.

In fact the Arab book fairs are among the biggest in the world by visitor numbers, many drawing literally millions of people, spending many millions of dollars, on books.

Middle East publishing snapshot. As millions descend on Arab book fairs, Arab publishing ups its game

A reminder here that in neighbouring Dubai, also part of the UAE, Big Bad Wolf will be laying out 3 million English language books for an eleven day non-stop 24/7 book sale next month.

Big Bad Wolf takes 3 million English-language books to Dubai next month as it debuts outside SE Asia

And days after the Big Bad Wolf sales ends, in neighbouring Sharjah, again in the UAE, the Sharjah International Book Fair gets under way.

Sharjah is one of several book fairs that attract more than a million visitors. In 2017 2.38 million people turned out.

The Arab book markets are far more exciting than most people realise.

The Al Ain Book Fair is on twitter via the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair account: @ADIBF #AlAinBookFair

Follow TNPS for daily tweets on the global publishing scene: @thenewpubstd