300 publishers at Bahrain book fair
Manama, March 26, 2012
More than 300 Arab and foreign publishing houses are exhibiting their latest publications at the biennial 10-day 15th Bahrain International Book Fair.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the fair taking place at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Although initial turnout has been low due to anti-government protest in Sanabis over the weekend, stallholders, who include publishers and book shops from the Gulf and across the Arab world, said they hoped business would pick up in the coming days.
Jordanian bookseller Najeeb Al Abbas admitted the visitor turnout had so far been much lower than previous years.
"This is the third time that I have taken part in the fair, while we haven't seen anything happening outside the venue, it hasn't been as good as previous years," he said. "We hope that this year will be good, and see more visitors later, but I think the situation is keeping people away."
A Syria-based publisher also said sales had been thin on the ground.
"I have come 10 times before this year to the fair, but we have hardly seen anyone or sold any books," said the man, who only wished to be identified as Suleiman. "Perhaps it will get better in the next few days."
Another Syrian stallholder said the event had been good, except for the low turnout.
"This is the first time I have come to the fair and so far everything has been good, but hardly anyone is here and no schools have been visiting the fair," he said.
Egyptian bookseller Ahmed Abdulraheem was also disappointed. "This is my first time at the fair and it hasn't been good," he said.
"We have had no visitors, haven't sold any books. If it gets better, then, yes, we will come back," he added.
However, a Bahrain-based stallholder said the success of the event could not be judged on the turnout in the first three days.
"Although the event hasn't been as popular as previous times, we can't judge it on the first three days," he said. "I think the reason behind it was the 11 rallies that took place over the weekend which had a negative impact on the event. However, it will get better, there is so much publicity about it."
A German-based publisher, who has been exhibiting since 1996, also praised the organisation of the event.
"Of course, I will come again because when a fair isn't good, it doesn't mean that the whole event is bad, life goes on," he said.
The fair, which opened last Thursday, is taking place under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa as part of the Spring of Culture festival.
It features books in English and Arabic on a variety of topics such as art and design, short stories, novels, cook books, travel books, coffee table books and many more as well as activities for children.
The event runs daily from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 10pm, and on Fridays from 4.30pm to 10pm and will continue until Sunday. – TradeArabia News Service