International fair for publishing promotes reading in Berlin

Samia Abul-Nasr, Wednesday 9 Oct 2019

The Berlin fair discussed the obstacles facing print newspapers and magazines

Ahram reporter (Left) with Michael Muller, mayor of Berlin and Carine Nevejans President of distpress

Over the past week, the German capital Berlin saw the 64th International Fair organised by the International Publishers and Distribution Association with the aim of pushing reading among young people worldwide.

Al-Ahram Journalism Foundation participated in the fair with an official booth headed by Dalia El-Badry.

Tracy Jones, the executive director of the International Publishers Association, said that this year's fair was held in Germany because of its place on the free speech index and to commemorate 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.

Jones stressed the importance of print, saying that it "won’t go extinct because people still love to hold and feel a paper book and get their information from printed newspapers because it has more credibility." She also believes that more young people will go back to reading.

Al-Ahram was the only Egyptian participant in this fair, which gathered more than 450 participating envoys from 60 countries to discuss the new developments in the publishing and distributing world. Next year's fair will be held in Portugal.

For Jones, one of the main obstacles that faces publishing and distributing are the restrictions imposed on free press and on journalists who are unable to write the truth.

Thomas Krechner, the founder of The Seven Days Foundation for media services, said that women's magazines are the highest selling printed magazines, selling over 1.46 million copies around the world in the first half of 2019 and are also on the list of the 50 most sold magazines in Germany.

Ghassan Momeny, a publisher from Bahrain, said that the fair comes at a very troubled time for publishing as chaos ravages many countries and paper is becoming more and more expensive, which threatens the publishing industry.

Dalia El-Badry, the Al-Ahram representative at the fair, suggested that the fair be held in Cairo or Sharm El-Sheikh in the coming years.

Journalist Ralph Deep still sees international journalism as a very viable business model. While Karen Nevanis, the head of the International Publishing Distribution Association, thinks that the distribution of international magazine and newspapers needs a better understanding of different cultures and the viewpoints of different countries.

Mohamed Al-Salami, head of the Tunisian National company for Distribution, said that the conference was a great opportunity to discuss the possible ways of enhancing and increasing the distribution of print publications.

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