This year, the book fair attracted more than 235,000 visitors over a period of five days. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The first day of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) set the tone for the six day exhibition, which ends on March 7.

More than 800 exhibitors from around the world and the region converged onto the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) where not only were there books but also a wide variety of programmes and cultural events for both book lovers and those in the publishing industry.

"This is the fair's 20th session, and the number of participating countries has increased by nearly 400 per cent from 2007. This is a significant rise in the number of publishers who attend the fair and the number of participants representing both Arabic and foreign countries in the programme of events that are taking place the exhibition," Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui, Director General, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, said.

The Book Fair was inaugurated by Shaikh Hamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and Chairman of the Higher Corporation of Specialised Economy Zones (ZonesCorp), and Shaikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Views of participants

"We have been participating in the Abu Dhabi Book Fair for 12 years and every year we see more and more visitors coming to the fair. This proves that people still like to read hard copies of books and we hope that this year that even more visitors come and take a look at what's available here," Mariam Salabbai, Al Mutannabi Bookshop, UAE, said.

That is a sentiment that is shared by other participating stands at the fair.

"We've participated several times at the Book Fair. It is an event that we look forward to because the Gulf is a promising market. We've already contacted a distributor in the UAE… whenever we exhibit here, we find that many schoolteachers are interested in our books," Makram Haddad, Managing Director, World Heritage Publisher Ltd, Lebanon, said.

"This is the third time we [have] participated in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and we see it growing every year. Ever since we began exhibiting here, more and more German publishers are expressing their interest in having their books exhibited with us. Last year, one of our participating authors sold five titles that were then translated into Arabic by Kalima," Claudia Dobry, Account Manager, Frankfurt Book Fair, said.

  • What: The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
  • When: March 2-7, 2010
  • Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
  • Timings: 9am-1pm and 5pm-10pm from Tuesday, March 2- Thursday, March 4.
    4pm-10pm on Friday, March 5
    9am-10pm on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday March 7