With more than 1.5 million book titles and 1,650 publishing houses from 60 countries, Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) opened its doors to public and trade visitors today. Now the third largest book fair in the world, the publishing mega-event takes place from 1 to 11 November at the Expo Centre Sharjah, which has added a 42,000 square foot (3,900 sqm.) temporary expansion for the fair.
Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), some two million visitors are expected to attend International Book Fair over its 11 days, underlining the emirate’s key role in the region’s book publishing sector. Recently announced by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the ‘World Book Capital 2019’, Sharjah yesterday inaugurated Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), the world’s first specialised book publishing free zone. The zone currently offers 40,000 square metres of offices and office space for up to 550 publishers, distributors, printers and other associated publishing businesses.
Held under the theme ‘A World in My Book,’ SIBF 2017, this year’s SIBF hosts the United Kingdom as the SIBF Country of Honour, with the fair featuring a special programme bringing elite British authors and prominent literary figures, plus celebrated media personalities as Mark Billingham, creator of London-based detective Tom Thorne; Mark Ellis, author of the DCI Frank Merlin series; and bestselling historical romance writer, Nicola Cornick. The programme forms part of ‘UK/UAE 2017,’ a year of bilateral cultural exchange between the two countries organised by the British Council.
Last year’s Sharjah International Book Fair was visited by more than 2.31 million people, with footfall figures setting a new record for the show. Book sales also reached the highest levels ever, with an estimated AED 176 million (US$ 48.2m) worth of sales conducted during the fair.
According to the SBA, the Arab book market is worth US$1 billion per annum.
Sharjah International Book Fair 2017 is open daily from 9am to 1opm daily from Wednesday 1 November through Saturday 11 November.
Source: SBA, Photo credit: Sharjah Media