Sharjah: Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has announced the second annual edition of the world’s first International Bookseller Conference in Sharjah.
Set to take place on May 1-2 on the sidelines of the 14th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), in Expo Centre Sharjah, the two-day event will bring together 383 book distributors including 160 from 17 Arab nations and 223 from 52 countries around the world.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO – Kalimat Group, will headline the two-day event with a keynote address. The conference will also hear from Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SBA Chairman; leading businessman Marcus Dohle; former CEO of Penguin Random House, Kinokuniya UAE’s Steve Jones, and others. Alongside the Booksellers Conference’s exceptional matchmaking and networking platform, attendees will also be offered a choice of 18 workshops and roundtables as well as 15 publisher pitches to pick from to upskill & explore specific areas of commercial interest.
The first day of the conference will open with a welcome address by Al Ameri, SBA Chairman. Kuo-yu Liang, prominent business consultant, will return to the two-day event with fresh insights on the latest in the bookselling industry. This will be followed by a thrilling conversation on future prospects and key marketplace learnings, particularly in children’s publishing, between Marcus Dohle and Porter Anderson.
The second keynote address of the day will be led by Mark Thornton from Bookshop.org, UK; Sarah Dennis, Mostly Books and Borzoi Bookshop; and Jo Coldwell, Red Lion Books.
On Day 2, the first keynote titled “The Five P’s of Retail – The Hits, Misses & Learning of 30 years in Bookselling”, will be delivered by Steve Jones of Kinokuniya UAE. The second one will be led by Julie Belgrado – Director – European and International Booksellers Federation, who will turn the spotlight on the key topic of sustainability.
This year, the conference programme is more robust and holistic with new features like 17 expert-led workshops and roundtables. Attendees will have the opportunity to select from wide ranging topics like ‘Data services – what can Nielsen do for you’; ‘Sustainability and The SDGs’; ‘Why People Buy – Consumer Book Buying Behaviours’; The art of giving great customer service’; ‘Creating partnerships – How to develop a network of collaborators’; ‘Selling Manga and Graphic Novels’; ‘How to create effective social media campaigns that sell books’; ‘The 4 Cs of Bookshop Design and Marketing’; and ‘Maximising the impact of your bookshop in the innovation ecosystem around your city.
Three Arabic language sessions are part of the itinerary and ‘Reduce distribution cost’; ‘E- distribution for E-book/Audiobook’; and ‘Stage of distribution’.
A special round table for publishers entitled Bookselling and distribution in Southeast Asia will be led by Prakash Book’s Gaurav Sabharwal.
The second edition of the International Bookseller Conference has also designed an exclusive platform for facilitating publisher pitches and enabling direct sales between publishers and distributors. The platform will showcase 15 reputed Arab and international publishers and distributors including Penguin Random House, Wonder House, Austin Macauley, Bonnier/Igloo, Kogan Page, Pan Macmillan, Difference Engine, MMS, Avicenna, Bookland Press, Lightning Source, Aseer Alkutoob, Estifan, Alshamel, and Dar Amnah.
This programme of workshops, roundtables and pitch presentation will be available for attendees to access on both days of the event, alongside the conference’s original networking sessions which were introduced last year.
Mansour Al Hasani, Director of Publishers Services, SBA, noted: “The International Booksellers Conference is back for another exciting edition, and will highlight the latest strategies, tools and techniques that today’s booksellers need to successfully navigate the fast-changing and digitally driven book market. The vital role of bookselling in ensuring the overall success of the publishing industry cannot be overstated, and connecting professionals from both sides to be able to look into similar areas of interest is crucial to the sector’s sustainable growth. Sharjah will continue its historical cultural role of offering fresh fuel to further propel the engines of the book distribution industry forward with the second edition of the bookseller conference by creating new opportunities for learning, exchange and building new regional and global business connections.”