Many in Egypt and the Arab world are awaiting the launch of the Cairo International Book Fair 2023 in its 54th session, as it is the most important annual cultural event.
The activities of the exhibition will start on Wednesday, January 25, and will continue until February 6, at the Egypt Center for International Exhibitions, under the slogan “In the name of Egypt – together: we read… we think… we create.”
The Cairo International Book Fair 2023 will be held this year in exceptional circumstances by all standards, as the rise in paper prices hit the publishing and printing sector in a double dilemma. He threatens a stifling slump in book sales.
Amidst this atmosphere of concern to readers and publishers alike, Al-Ain News contacted the Egyptian writer and publisher Mohamed Rashad, President of the Arab Publishers Union, and conveyed to him many questions from readers and authors about the nature of the union’s role, and how publishers can continue their work in light of the spread of reading media. Electronic, and how can a balance be made between a paper book and an electronic book, and is the relationship between them competition or complementarity?
The President of the Arab Publishers Union confirmed to Al-Ain News that moving the exhibition to its new location at the Egypt International Exhibition Center greatly contributed to the increase in the number of visitors, expecting an increase in turnout this year.
Rashad also confirmed that the Union of Arab Publishers decided in this session of the Cairo International Book Fair 2023 to grant facilities and discounts ranging from 25% to 50%, and may reach 60%, to encourage readers who are keen to attend the fair.
And to the text of the dialogue:
What is the nature and role of the Arab Publishers Union?
It is a non-profit professional association that does not publish. It is different from publishing houses and does not produce any books.
– Is the paper book still the first choice for the reader?
We are facing a battle in our Arab world from nothing because of this; Because in developed countries they have the content published in paper, digital and audio books, but the paper book will still exist.--
What about using digital books today?-
The digital book is required in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and scientific books. In America and Europe, intellectual and creative books that contain “story, poetry, and novels” rely on paper printing.
Is the rate of dependence on paper books increasing despite technological progress?
Yes, and there is an annual increase in the number of printed copies of paper books in developed countries by 8%-10%.
– In your opinion, what is better for the reader, the paper book or the digital book?
Each of them has its audience, and each of them has its own content, and I believe that scientific books have become their users who prefer to read them from digital books. At the present time, no one will buy a complete encyclopedia and read it to extract specific information. But paper books still exist, and digital book sales sometimes outpace paper books.
– Does the Arab Publishers Union provide facilities and discounts for readers?
We certainly do this in light of the high cost of books at the present time, with the aim of reducing the burden on readers, and we have announced the facilities and discounts that the union will make, ranging from 25%-50%, and may reach 60%, in our desire to continue the publishing process.
– Did the transfer of the Cairo International Book Fair to the Gathering make it easier for the reader to access?
Yes, and the demand for it increased after its transfer. Last year, more than 3 million people visited the exhibition, and we expect a further increase in numbers this year.