Sharjah Booksellers Conference Releases Its 2024 Agenda

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Organizers of the 2024 Sharjah Booksellers Conference are anticipating several hundred attendees taking part in this year’s edition.

Sharjah Booksellers Conference 2023 attendees at a round-table workshop. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Also see:
Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Again ‘Animated’
Sharjah’s Third Booksellers Conference: ‘Acumen and Dynamism’
PulisHer Signs Visa as Sponsor of Its New Lounge at Sharjah’s Conference
Sharjah’s Booksellers Conference: ‘Ecosystem Stakeholders’
At Sharjah’s Booksellers Conference: The ‘PublisHer Lounge’
Sharjah Book Authority: Bodour Al Qasimi’s First Year as Chair
Emirates Publishers Association Issues 10-Million-Dirham Sustainability Fund

An Evolving Mix of Presentations and Workshops
At the Sharjah Booksellers Conference in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday and Sunday (April 27 and 28), the success of workshop programming is reflected in a two-day event that focuses on interactive round-table conversations led by professional players in the international business. The program has been released to the news media today (April 22).

This is the third year of this program, which is set days before the May 1 opening of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, and is of course a presentation of the Sharjah Book Authority.

The Book Authority’s chair, Bodour Al Qasimi, will open the conference on Saturday with a keynote address.

Those comments will be followed by a keynote “in conversation” interview that Publishing Perspectives will conduct with Andrea Giunti, the executive vice-president of the Florence-based Giunti al Punto bookstores, Italy’s largest bookstore chain, now with 267 stores. At this point, one in 10 books sold in Italy is sold by Giunti, and the company’s goal is to make that one in five.

In a third event on the program’s Main Stage on Saturday, Raja Al Gurg will be interviewed by Iman Ben Cheibah, who is the founder of Sail Publishing. Al Gurg, presented by PublisHer, is an author and the chair and managing director of the Easa Sale Al Gurg Group, based in Dubai with a portfolio of at least 30 companies.

These three sessions will conclude with a coffee break and book-signing session with Al Gurg in the new PublisHer Lounge for women who are attending the conference. (Information and registration for the lounge’s events is in our article here.) Kenny Chan, Kinokuniya consultant, is the Main Stage program’s moderator.

On the second day of the program, Sunday, a morning keynote will feature Emile Tyan of Lebanon’s Librairie Antoine in an “in conversation” interview with Nadia Wassef of Egypt’s Diwan. There’s also a second keynote on Day Two, featuring Ahmed Rewihel of Arabookverse.

International Round-Table Workshops

Markus Dohle, now a member of the boards of Sharjah Book Authority and Canada’s Indigo bookstore chain, speaks at the 2023 Sharjah Booksellers Conference. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

The rest of programming on both days will be given over to the popular round-table sessions devised by programming associate Emma House with Sharjah Book Authority CEO Ahmed Al Ameri and Publishing City’s Mansour Al Hassani to both focus on specific issues in bookselling and publishing and to feature some of the key figures from the industry who are part of the conference.

Related article: ‘Sharjah International Book Fair: Hosting 108 Markets.’ Image Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

Among the 23 round-table events on the first day, at least six of them are in Arabic, and the others are in English. The various round-table specialists immediately demonstrate the extraordinary

Some of the conversations at the tables are to include:

  • Ajay Mago of India’s Om Books on Bookstores in Shopping Malls
  • Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo of the United States’ Greenlight Bookstore on Bookstore Partnerships
  • Confujo social media’s Giorgia Russo on Making the Most of Social Media
  • Madrid’s José Manuel Anta (FANDE) on Collaboration Between Distributors, Publishers, and Bookstores
  • Damilola Olajoyegbe of the United Kingdom’s Waterstones on Curating and Selling Graphic Novels
  • France’s Agnes Debiage of ACDF Consulting on Beyond the Bookstore: Selling Books Outside of Your Own Shop
  • Fernando Pascual of Mexico’s Lantia on Magnifying the Voice of the Bookseller with AI
  • Tamara Megrelishvili of Tbilisi’s Prospero’s Books and Coffeehouse on Stock Curation and Product Mix
  • Ajay Jain of India’s Kunzum Bookstores on Community Engagement
  • Kyra Dreher of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers’ and booksellers’ association, on Germany’s Kultur Pass and Bookseller Engagement
  • In Arabic, the Nahid Al-Shawa Cultural Foundation in Egypt will present a workshop titled Innovative Working Methods for Distributing Children’s Books, a joint session between distributors and publishers of children’s books and stories
  • From the States, Publishers Weekly’s Ed Nawotka will talk about Book Stunts: Promoting Books With Out of the Box Thinking
  •  Also from the States, Brooke O’Donnell of IPG will speak on Working With a US Distributor
  • In Arabic, Fatimah Abbas of Egypt’s Fala Agency will lead a workshop called Publishing in the AI Era: Unveiling the Multi-Format Makeover
  • From India, Govind Dee Cee of DC Books will have a workshop on Bookstores and Literary Festivals
  • An Arabic session, How To Conclude Agreements With Distributors, and What Are the Benefits of These Agreements? will be led by Taysir MT Herzallah of Abu Dhabi Media Company and Tawzea for Distribution and Logistics Services in the UAE
  • The United Kingdom’s Sarah Arbuthnot of Supadu is to hold a workshop on Achieving D2C Success One Step at a Time
  • Egyptian consultant Mustafa Al-Tayeb will have a workshop in Arabic on Strategic Planning for Bookstore Management: How Do You Create Your Own Cultural Brand?
  • Dulia Lengema of Belgium’s Librairie Ici Sont Les Lions-Efongo will lead a workshop on Reaching the Reading Diaspora Through Bookstores

In these and other round-table sessions, the Sharjah Booksellers Conference attendees will find their way to issues and debates that bring booksellers and publishers together in many markets of the world book business.

In addition, lunchtime sessions include the introduction of the Kunzum Bookstores (India) campaign Time To Read and a series of publisher pitches, as well.


More from Publishing Perspectives about the Sharjah Booksellers Conference is here, more on PublisHer is here, and more on Sharjah and its market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.