The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), the first on-ground trade exhibition amid the Covid-19 pandemic, wrapped up on Monday.
The exhibition was held between November 4 and 15 at the Sharjah Expo Center. Over 1,024 Arab and foreign publishers participated in this year’s “The World Reads from Sharjah” themed event.
Strict precautionary measures were enforced throughout the event amid the pandemic. They included a pre-registration requirement, limiting the number of visitors to ensure social distancing is respected throughout the day, full adherence to sterilization procedures and the mandatory wearing of masks. Awareness messages were shared repeatedly on different platforms.
More than 382,000 visitors attended the exhibition, which showcased around 80,000 new releases, in addition to virtual events on the “Sharjah Reads” platform, which drew 63,500 viewers.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, organizers found a solution to the obstacles created by the pandemic that prevented school students from visiting the exhibition. Students remotely attended cultural and panel discussions and met their favorite authors from inside their classrooms through visual communication tools.
On the conclusion of the exhibition, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, said: “By holding the fair this year, we are telling the world that culture is the pillar in Sharjah’s various visions and programs and that books are an essential tool for building society.”
He added that the exhibition sought to revive the Arab and international cultural scene after all the cancelations and postponements forced by the pandemic.
The exhibition also hosted the tenth edition of the Publishers Conference. The three-day event was attended by 317 publishers and 33 international speakers. Discussions covered the challenges facing the publishing sector in the Arab world and the world at large amid the coronavirus outbreak, how publishers can adapt to this novel situation and the ways in which social media and virtual communication link publishers and readers.