Press Release – for immediate use
Date: 7 January 2019
Global publishing journal TNPS says success of Jeddah International Book Fair a fine example of the Arab Literary Renaissance
Mark Williams, Editor-in-Chief of the global publishing industry journal The New Publishing Standard (TNPS), said today that the success of the just concluded Jeddah International Book Fair shows offers further proof of the unfolding Arab Literary Renaissance.
While awaiting official confirmation from the Jeddah IBF organisers, Williams said he understands the final visitor number to be 475,000, which is a staggering number for a second city book fair in the Arab world.
Williams said, “There’s a widespread belief in the publishing world that Arabs don’t read and that the MENA book markets are not worth bothering with. But in fact three of the world’s biggest book fairs happen in the region – Cairo, Sharjah and Algiers – and many other Arab book fairs and festivals, including Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh and Jeddah book fairs, attract visitors in numbers book fair organisers in the English-speaking world can only dream of.”
While some Arab book fairs have been mired in controversy, the Jeddah event this year has been an example of how Arab book fairs can maintain their Middle Eastern mystique and historical traditions while embracing technology, as attested to the 2 million visitors to the Jeddah IBF twitter account, which Williams said has been exemplary in showing other book fairs how to use social media effectively to reach the world beyond.
But sadly the Jeddah IBF once again passed largely unreported in the English-language publishing industry media outside the Royal Kingdom, helping perpetuate the myth that Arabs don’t read.
Williams said, “The idea that Arabs don’t read is a nonsense I’ve challenged frequently at TNPS, where we’ve tried to cover all the major Arab literary events, but it would be helpful for global coverage if more event organisers could keep their websites and social media up to date and offer information in multiple languages. Not everyone is lucky enough to read Arabic!”
Williams noted that the 475,000 visitors to the Jeddah International Fair compared favourably to the record 273,000 that attended the UK’s biggest literary event, the Hay Festival, and the record 200,000 that attended the USA’s biggest book event, the Washington National Book Festival.last year.
Mark Williams is an author, publishing commentator and consultant, and Editor-in-Chief of The New Publishing Standard, a publishing journal dedicated to shedding light on the international book markets. Williams lives and writes in the Gambia, West Africa.
The New Publishing Standard is published by StreetLib, an Italy-based, globally focussed aggregator on a mission to make books, ebooks and audiobooks available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
For further information contact TNPS Editor-in-Chief Mark Williams: info.thenewpublishingstandard.com
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