From left: Ali Lari, Hiba Mourkadem, Sameer Wijesinghe and Noushad Kizakevalappil at the Abu Dhabi book fair.

Abu Dhabi: With 500,000 books from 63 different countries on display, book lovers were out in large numbers on the second day of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), making the most of the opportunity to purchase a variety of different books.

“I came to the book fair to buy educational and biography books, and so far I’ve seen a lot of good books that are available. It’s a very big book fair, there are so many different publishers on hand and as a fan of books this has been very impressive,” said Ali Lari, an Emirati visitor.

“The good thing is that there are a good mix of books, you have a lot of English books as well as a lot of Arabic books, so you’re not limited in choice. If you are a book lover then this is the place to be over the next week,” he added.

Sameer Wijesinghe, a visitor from Sri Lanka, said it was his first time to visit the book fair.

“I’ve never come to the ADIBF before, this is my first time, and so far it’s been very good. I came to the book fair to find books about animals, I’ve bought one book so far, and I am hoping to find others as well.

“It’s a very big book fair, so I still have to go around and browse, but I think it’s good to have so many different countries involved because it can help you find the book you’re looking fair,” he added.

For Hiba Mourkadem, a Lebanese writer, this year’s book fair is very special as her first book is being sold at the event.

“I have visited the book fair in previous years, but this year is very different for me because my own book is being sold here. It’s a great experience to be able to come here and see your own book being displayed at one of the stands, as a writer it’s like a dream coming true,” she said.

“Overall, the book fair is a great platform for both publishers and readers, you can find so many Arabic books here that you might not usually find at your local bookstore thanks to the participation of Arab publishers from across the region,” she added.

Publishers happy too

The continued growth of the ADIBF over the years has made it a key event for bookstores and distributors, with the book fair seeing a yearly increase in participation from publishers who see the event as a great chance to meet new customers.

“It’s actually our 15th time here at the ADIBF, so we have been coming here for a very long time. The book fair has obviously gotten much bigger since we first started coming, and it’s become a very good place for networking and getting good exposure,” said Madhavan Menon, managing director of UAE-based Arif Book Distribution.

“We are getting a lot of daily customers buying from us, so there is that benefit too because you are making good sales. Along with the daily sales, the big benefit is the new clients you can potentially make, whether it’s publishers, government entities or schools who are visiting. They might visit us and tell us they want to enter into a working relationship, and they want us to start selling them our products in bulk. As a distributor that is ultimately what we are looking for,” he added.

Another bookstore taking part at the fair — Book Land Shop — also spoke positively on the benefits of being able to meet new customers.

“Every day we have customers coming and buying from us at the book fair, so that is good for business. These are new customers as well, so we get to introduce our shop to people who may not have known about us, and that can help grow the business,” said Noushad Kizakevalappil, sales manager for the bookshop’s Abu Dhabi branch.

The Book Fair

What: Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

When: April 25 to May 1

Timings: 9am to 10pm, Saturday to Thursday; 4pm to 10pm on Friday