By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘To Hone Their Skills and Further Their Development’As the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair today (May 24) enters the second day of its run through Saturday (May 29), the emirate’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has ordered that 6 million UAE dirhams (US$1.6 million) be allocated for buying books and educational content at the fair.
This is additional support for exhibiting publishers at the huge show, which has opened as a physical fair with extensive streaming of its programming all week. As Publishing Perspectives reported Sunday (May 23), Abu Dhabi’s department of culture and tourism—which produces the show through the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre—has waived the stand fees for the hundreds of publishers participating both physically and digitally.
This gesture answers two needs for publishers—especially those in the educational space—whose revenues have been deeply compromised during the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
As Arab Publishers Association president Mohamed Rashad has explained in an interview for our Abu Dhabi Show Magazine, publishers in the Arab world have been faced not only with the loss of many book fairs but also with the collapse of anticipated funding from governments for the purchase of books.
As the region’s governments have had to redirect funding from educational programs to public-health emergency expenses, book-buying budgets have been squeezed.
On the news of Al Nahyan’s funding move, Hussain Bin Ibrahim Al Ammadi, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of education, says, “Investing in books means investing in minds, the very foundation that any nation’s success is built on.
“We’re grateful to Sheikh Mohamed for his support. Making a wide variety of literary works from the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair available to students will undoubtedly play an instrumental role in their educational development.
“It will also contribute greatly to broadening their horizons and better acquaint them with different cultures to hone their skills and further their experiences throughout their educational journeys.”
And Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, who chairs Abu Dhabi’s department of culture and tourism, says, “We are greatly appreciative of this gesture, which reflects the vision and wisdom of Sheikh Mohamed, as it provides significant support and assistance to one of our country’s vital cultural industries, considering the recent announcement of exempting publishers from paying participation fees for the current edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
“We’ll immediately begin working with the ministry of education to ensure the selection of titles meets the needs of students at various levels of education, and to provide school libraries with the latest and most important literary, scientific, cultural, and educational publications.
“By doing so, we’ll be able to motivate our youth to read and discover more about the world around them, which is in line with the vision of Sheikh Mohamed to encourage reading among students, and to make reading and acquiring knowledge a priority for the UAE community.”
An estimated 500,000 or more titles are reported to be on sale at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, where attendees on the physical exhibition floor are fully vaccinated and tested for COVID19. Admission is limited to those 17 and older this year.
More on the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here in our special landing page for all our coverage.
For your free copy of our specially produced 2021 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Show Magazine, click here.
More on Guest of Honor Germany and Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here with more on the German market here. More from Publishing Perspectives more broadly on book fairs and trade shows is here. Publishing Perspectives is the media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the International Publishers Association. Publishing Perspectives’ extended coverage of ADIBF 2021 is supported by the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.