A new initiative, launched by the Egyptian Publishers Union, in anticipation of financial losses during the Cairo Book Fair due to high prices and the depreciation of the pound.
The Egyptian Publishers Association announced that the value of purchases from the exhibition can be paid in installments through credit cards through a national bank over a period of six months to a year.
Saeed Abdo, head of the federation, said that in addition to making books available in installments for the fair’s visitors, the federation offers great facilities to its publishers through an initiative to print books in installments as well, and other initiatives aimed at moving the market.
The fifty-fourth session of the Cairo International Book Fair will start the day after tomorrow, Wednesday, amid anticipation from reading enthusiasts and publishers alike due to the high prices of books, some of which have doubled compared to last year.
The official exchange rate of the Egyptian pound recently moved to about 30 pounds against the dollar, compared to the level of approximately 15.70, which remained stable from 2020 until the twenty-first of March 2022.
The head of the Arab Publishers Union, Mohamed Rashad, explains the rise in book prices, saying, “Production requirements have become very expensive. Paper has tripled in price, especially in Egypt, and in some countries twice, so the publisher has no fault in the book’s high selling price.”
He added, “I call on journalists and the media to urge everyone to visit the Cairo exhibition, because this confirms the importance of the exhibition as the largest exhibition in the region, and on the other hand, it is a protection for the publishing industry that does not receive any real support because most Arab countries do not classify it as an independent industry.”--
1047 publishers from 53 countries will participate in the exhibition organized by the Egyptian General Book Authority, which will run until February 6th at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.-
The government says it is doing what it can to control prices and expand social spending, and it often blames the current pressures on external factors linked to the war in Ukraine.
The government also points to the infrastructure boom it has achieved, which led to the emergence of new roads and cities, and helped the Egyptian economy continue to achieve growth during the Corona epidemic crisis.
The depreciation of the pound
The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 exacerbated Egypt’s foreign exchange crisis, as foreign investors who were already unenthusiastic in the country withdrew more than $20 billion, tourism stalled and the main import bill soared.
The central bank authorized the first in a series of sharp currency devaluations, and Egypt has sought the latest support from Gulf states and the International Monetary Fund.
The pound has lost nearly 50 percent of its value since last March, and the annual inflation rate has increased to more than 20 percent, the highest level in five years. Nevertheless, consumers notice sharper increases in the prices of many commodities, including basic foodstuffs that some have started to produce. Stores to legalize their sale.