The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was at the Paris Book Fair this past week, marking the seventh year in succession that Saudi literature was putting on a show in France.

More about the Saudi show in Paris over at MENAFM.

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia itself the Riyadh International Book Fair was underway.

Visitors arriving at the Riyadh International Book Fair 2019, one of the region’s largest cultural events, enter through four main gates bearing the names of the Saudi Vision 2030’s megaprojects: Neom, Qiddiyah, Red Sea and Amaala. The aim is to introduce visitors to the Kingdom’s hopes, ambitions and future plans.

Find out more about the four gates over at Arab News.

But the bigger story is the record-breaking attendance at the Riiyadh International Book Fair in the Saudi capital.

Abdullah Al-Kinani, supervisor of cultural affairs at the Saudi Ministry of Media reported that more than 800,000 people had visited the Riyadh fair by close on Friday.

That’s from Arab News this weekend.

The official Riyadh IBF website says 500,000 are typically expected at the event, so by any measure this is a spectacular turnout, and comes close on the heels of the second year in succession of a one million visitor turnout for the Muscat International Book Fair in Oman.

Oman’s Muscat International Book Fair clocks over 1 million visitors for second year running

But the Riyadh International Book fair ran through until Saturday, and it seems there was a flurry of late interest.

Today the official Riyadh International Book Fair twitter account @Rybookfair is claiming 1 million visitors attended the fair.

Just one more example of the Arab renaissance unfolding. And one more book fair record shattered as social media – the supposed enemy of the book – drives ever-increasing interest in books and reading.