Egypt’s culture minister Shaker Abdel-Hamid announced on Wednesday the postponement of the Cairo International Book Fair to February, to avoid its coinciding with the anniversary of January 25 revolution. The decision was met with deep concern amongst publishers.
Publishers fear the delay will take the fair out of the international agenda, and may mean risking a low attendance because several publishers across the Arab world will be committed to participating in Morocco’s book fair, also in February.
An urgent meeting at the Union of Egyptian Publishers on Wednesday issued a statement requesting intervention from the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to intervene to save the country’s publishing industry and the world reputation of the book fair.
The Union said in its statement that delaying or cancelling the fair this year could have a detrimental effect on the publishing industry for several years.
The statement also voiced fears that the decision will deepen the sense of insecurity inside Egypt, and that the loss of thousands of Arab and foreign visitors and publishers will reflect negatively on the country’s reputation among foreign visitors.
The union also expressed concern that postponing the 2012 fair after it was cancelled in 2011 may risk its status as an international book fair.