Visitors can browse an endless selection of books across all genres at stalls inside SIBF at Expo Centre Sharjah till November 13 Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which has 1,632 publishers from 83 countries offering 15 million books, has become the world’s largest book fair, organiser Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) announced on Friday night.

SIBF has earned the title of the world’s largest book fair for the first time since its inception in 1982.

This global recognition follows the success of one of the book fair’s professional programmes – the SIBF Publishers Conference – whose 11th edition held in the emirate in the leadup to the book fair surpassed every international book fair held this year to attract the participation of 546 publishers and literary agents from 83 countries looking to do business with each other.

Publishers and agents networking at Publishers Conference of SIBF 2021 Image Credit: Supplied

Held under the theme ‘There’s always a right book’, the 11-day SIBF 2021 is being held till November 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Realisation of a vision

Commenting on the achievement, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said: “The new SIBF record is a local, regional and international achievement that could not have been realised without the continuing support of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who firmly believes that building strong societies and civilisations can only be achieved through knowledge and books.”

He added: “The world-renowned event has proved its resilience by bringing together 1,632 publishers from 83 countries to exhibit 15 million books, which includes 1.3 million unique titles, of which 110,000 are making their SIBF debut.”

“This accomplishment follows a series of recent achievements by Sharjah and SIBF. They include being accorded Guest of Honour status at several international book fairs, including Paris, Moscow, Madrid, New Delhi and São Paulo; and organising the biggest international event held during the pandemic last year. This new triumph is the highlight of the 40th edition, and a fulfilment of the promise we showed at the inaugural edition of SIBF in 1982.”

The 2021 edition of SIBF celebrates Spain as a Guest of Honour and brings together 83 authors from 22 countries. The SIBF agenda includes more than 1,000 activities, including 440 cultural sessions, in addition to 355 shows, performances, seminars as well as workshops for children.