File photo of a previous edition of SIBF at Expo Centre Sharjah Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) will have several new services for visitors, including self-payment machines at the hall entrances as well as other online payment systems.

Visitors can also make use of cash payments at publishers’ stands.

This year, SIBF will take place from November 3 to 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

For its 40th edition, SIBF organiser Sharjah Book Authority has partnered with Sharjah Central Finance Department (SFD) for the self-payment machines as well as other online payment systems.

New services

SIBF has also improved upon information desks and digital devices at the hall entrances that incorporate features for people of determination. Moreover, visitors to the fair can request assistance through the information desks if they lose their belongings. Also, SIBF has provided additional parking spaces at the venue.

SIBF app

Additionally, SBA has launched an official SIBF mobile app, called ‘Sibf’ on Google Play Store and Apple Store. The app offers users access to the fair’s programmes, including sessions, workshops, shows, publishers’ list and the books on display. It also enables users to plan a schedule and receive notifications about the timing of the sessions they wish to attend.

Booking school visits

Given the popularity of the book fair among the students, SBA has made the booking of school visits “a one-click chore” by clicking on and registering at a dedicated link.

‘No detail is too small’

SBA Chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri said: “SIBF has become one of the most recognised symbols of Sharjah’s cultural project to the world. We strive to ensure that SIBF projects the emirate’s vision of furthering knowledge, creativity and culture positively in every small aspect that goes into organising the fair. No detail is too small to discard if it will ensure enhanced visitor experience and serve to feed their passion for reading.”

Digital wallets

Waleed Al Sayegh, director-general of SFD, said: “We are empowering smart technological transformation and offering innovative digital services. To facilitate the experience of SIBF visitors, we have put in place procedures to incorporate all digital payment channels in the Smart Receipt System ‘Tahseel’ at the SIBF venue. This includes all debit and credit cards, as well as ‘Apple Pay’, ‘Samsung Pay’, ‘Google Pay’, and ‘Tahseel Pay’ digital wallets, which enable users to pay through the direct top-up service via the bank account.”

Publishers’ conference

The '11th SIBF Publishers Conference', held in partnership with the International Publishers Association (IPA), opens at Expo Centre Sharjah on Sunday, ahead of the official opening of SIBF on Wednesday.

File pic of SIBF Publishers' Conference
File pic of a previous edition of the conference Image Credit: Supplied

The three-day conference has attracted more than 546 publishing professionals and 35 speakers. With discussions on book sales, potential agreements, translations, copyrights and distribution rights, the conference features an agenda of keynote sessions and eight panel discussions.

A main highlight of the opening day’s proceedings is a keynote address by IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi.

The conference opens with a welcome address by Al Ameri. A panel discussion titled ‘Coming Together in Crisis: How the international sustainable publishing and industry resilience (Inspire) initiative is supporting industry recovery in unprecedented times’ will set the conference in motion.

A panel of publishing professionals from around the world will discuss the ‘Inspire Charter’ and how the industry can ensure that the entire publishing ecosystem moves forward in coordination during times of crisis.

Dh1.1 million grant

Open exclusively to participants at the conference is a key session that highlights the application process for the $300,000 (around Dh1.1 million) ‘SIBF Translation Grant’.

The inaugural day’s proceedings will also mark the start of the ‘Matchmaking’ sessions where publishers and industry professionals can discuss buying and selling of rights and strike new deals, especially in the Arab market.

The agenda of the following two days of the conference will feature discussions on the independent publishing boom and explore opportunities in the educational publishing industry, amongst others. 

The second discussion of the day, titled ‘Arab Publishing Landscape: Guidelines to the different Arabic world markets’, will hear from Arab publishers about how publishing is evolving in Arabic-speaking countries.

The Guest of Honour at SIBF 2021, Spain, will host a special session in the afternoon to shed light on the Spanish publishing industry.

The conference concludes on Tuesday.