Art And Culture

Private Enterprise, Int’l Presence in Book Fair Established

Private Enterprise, Int’l Presence in Book Fair EstablishedPrivate Enterprise, Int’l Presence in Book Fair Established

This year’s edition of the Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) saw two major changes compared to the previous rounds, bringing about desirable outcomes, said Seyyed Abbas Salehi, president of the 28th TIBF.

For the first time the private sector played a major role in organizing and managing the book fair, while the government helped “facilitate the process.” Running the book fair by the people involved in the cultural field proved successful and “a step forward in quality,” Salehi said at the closing ceremony on Saturday at Imam Khomeini Mosalla (prayer ground), Honaronline reported.

Based on the final figures, the fair’s sales turnover exceeded $21m - this figure represents only the purchases registered via POS terminals of one domestic bank - while the revenue generated through cash payments, point of sale devices of other banks and also discount tickets, is expected to take the total earnings much higher.

“Considering the 15% inflation, the recorded figure shows a 50% hike compared to the previous year, indicating the economic profitability of the fair,” Salehi said.

Another encouraging aspect of the fair was the strong presence of international publishers. Pointing to Oman as the special guest, Salehi added, “This allowed us to open a new window to the world of Arabic culture and literature.”

Presidents of foreign international book fairs from Paris, Frankfurt, and Bologna also attended the TIBF. “Holding several sessions with local publishers and officials was a useful opportunity to expand our international relations.”

The 11-day event, dedicated each day to one country, providing the respective embassy in Tehran with the possibility to introduce their culture and literature through various programs, including participation of their littérateurs in special sessions.

Although still distant from the ideals, and challenged with constraints in running the fair, it is noteworthy to see Iran ranking 18th in book publications in the world. “Therefore, we should make efforts to overcome the problems and strengthen our positive points,” he stressed.

 Over to Publishers

Ali Jannati, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, underlined the need to create the required structure in executive mechanism and expressed his support to privatization saying, “We intend to gradually give complete management of the fair to publishers and publication associations in a planned process.”

During the past 8 years, Imam Khomeini Mosalla has been host to the TIBF; however, the location has seen heavy traffic jams during the event causing problems for the people in the area.

There have long been decisions to construct a permanent venue for the book fair, to a place which can accommodate the millions of visitors without disturbing people in the neighborhood. One is the international fair venue in Sun City south of Tehran which is not completed yet, but is expected to host the TIBF next year.

The other option is the Tehran Book Garden which is under construction in Abbas-Abad Hills in north-central Tehran. The garden is scheduled to become a cultural hub for authors, poets and others involved in the field.

Jannati said, “We will do our best and hopefully the fair can be held at a better place next year.”

At the end of the ceremony the best publishers were awarded. Dibagaran Tehran and Khoshkhan were selected as the best in the academic and educational sections respectively. Fatehan Publications and Gilan Publishers’ Cooperative won the prize for the best publishers of books for adults.

Avand-e Danesh and Vijeh Nashr were chosen as the best in the Latin and Arab sections. Taaqcheh was the best electronic publisher, and Khaneh Adabiat was honored as the top children’s book publisher.

The 28th International Tehran Book Fair was held from May 6-16. Over 2700 local and 140 foreign publishers showcased their titles.