Arab Book Fair a failure since the opening day

Marwa Mohie El-Din, Sunday 18 Sep 2011

Visitors were few and profits even less for the First Arab Book Fair that concluded today

Arab Book Fair

Today is the final day of the First Arab Book Fair organized by Waad for Publishing and Distribution, 8-18 September, in Gezera Park in front of the Cairo Opera House. The number of visitors has been disappointing. This may be due to scant publicity, the location or the timing. Although many authors and intellectuals expected the Ramadan Book Fair to fail, it’s success far outshines this book fair.

When Mousa Ali, media official in the Egyptian-Lebanese Publishing House, was asked about this book fair, his answer was that it is a failure and that was clear since the opening day. This, according to him, is because the organiser (Waad) is a small publishing house, compared to the General Egyptian Book Authority.

Cairo Governor Abd El-Qawi Khalifa went to check on the book fair several days ago. Some publishers complained that their sales are little and their losses great, so he decided to extend the book fair three more days.

Muhammad Salama a bookseller in Soor El-Azbakeyya mentioned that this decision came after they complained to Waad Publishing, asked to drop out of the book fair, asked to get back the fees they paid and complained to the Cairo governor.

Although the governor decided to extend the book fair, El-Gemaily Ahmed, the organiser, decided to end the book fair on the scheduled day, because the school year will begin. He defended the book fair strongly. He says it achieved much success, but nobody else seems to agree.

Finally, publishing houses anonymously agreed that visitors were few, and the book fair didn’t gain its expected profits for many reasons. Among them, the population of this area is little, the book fair is in a park, there is a LE2 ticket for entry, contrary to most free book fairs. But most significant is the lack of online and print advertising.

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