Sharjah – The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) concluded on a record-breaking note on Saturday, with book sales exceeding Dh206 million.
The 36th edition of the world’s third-largest book fair also attracted 2.38 million visitors over its 11-day run at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The figure is higher than the 2.31 million visitors last year.
The 2017 footfall figures broke all previous fair records, with sales also up considerably from last year. The Dh206 million book sales figure represented an increase of 17 per cent over 2016 and was achieved in part due to the high volume of sales of children’s and foreign books.
Both footfall and book sales figures for SIBF 2017 are the highest in the fair’s 35-year history.
Meanwhile, the hashtag ‘#SIBF2017’, used in the run-up to and for the duration of the fair, recorded more than 1.3 billion impressions in English and Arabic.
Ahmad Al Ameri, chairman of Sharjah Book Authority, which organises SIBF, said: “The overwhelming success achieved by SIBF proves that it is not just a book fair, but a great cultural project that brings together different nationalities on the grounds of human dialogue and discourse. Each year, SIBF conveys a message to the world that knowledge and reading are the noblest way for people to communicate with each other.”
He added: “The last day of each edition of SIBF does not mark its conclusion because it is an ongoing cultural project. Since it was first launched in 1982 by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the fair has served as the starting point of a long series of cultural projects and initiatives that illuminate paths to knowledge and extend bridges of tolerance with all people in the world.”
SIBF 2017 saw the participation of 1,690 exhibitors from 60 countries, with 1.5 million titles on display.
For the first time in its history, the fair offered a smart application that allowed visitors and exhibitors to browse the details of this year’s edition; its events, their dates, the halls in which they were being held and other information.
Meanwhile, SIBF’s Book Signing Corner was the venue for more than 200 signing events by renowned local, regional and international authors, with the works from the literary luminaries encompassing poetry, philosophy, history, theatre and other genres.
This year’s edition of SIBF saw the participation of the UK as its ‘Guest of Honour,’ with the initiative seeing a series of activities and programmes designed to illustrate the depth of British culture and its literary, intellectual and artistic icons.
Renowned figures included former Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram; American author of children’s and young adult fiction Peter Lerangis; American writer and novelist Victoria Christopher; French writer Julien Columeau; Indian photographer and filmmaker Ryan Lobo; Filipino poet and novelist Edgar Samar; Indian writer and politician Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin; British writer and historian Peter Frankopan; Indian writer and diplomat Vikas Swarup; Pakistani author and journalist Mohammad Hanif, American scientist and author Lisa Genova; and Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison.
SIBF 2017 in numbers
2.38 million visitors
Dh206 million in book sales
1.5 million books on display
1,690 exhibitors from 60 countries
400 authors, intellectuals and literary luminaries from 64 countries
More than 1.3 billion impressions on social media for #SIBF2017
300 events under Cultural Programme
33 activities under Cultural Café, which included 33 activities involving 60 guests from 11 countries
1,600+ activities under Kids Programme
72 events under Cookery Corner
33 activities under Social Media Station