Biography, novel and history books top sales at Cairo Exhibition

Biography, novel and history books top sales at Cairo Exhibition

The most prominent cultural event in Egypt is no longer a millionaire

Thursday – 2 Rajab 1443 AH – 03 February 2022 AD Issue No. [

side of the exhibition

Cairo: Rasha Ahmed

Amidst strict precautionary measures due to the new Corona virus pandemic, and unprecedented waves of frost, the days and nights of the Cairo International Book Fair continue as a prominent cultural event at the Arab level, loaded with great privacy at the local level, as it is the most important occasion in which hundreds of thousands of families meet. In a joyous festive ritual that goes beyond just buying books to include other aspects such as art shows, circuses, poetry evenings, storytelling and narration, as well as giant screens set up in the open air so that the audience of the exhibition can follow the Pharaohs team in the African Nations Championship!
A light tour of the exhibition halls and halls is enough to make sure that the prominent cultural event, which was famous for its two million character, as the number of its visitors reached nearly half a million visitors per day before the “Corona” pandemic, has lost that quality, as the number of its visitors ranges in the session. The current 53 attracts between 45 and 65 thousand visitors only in the first days of its activities, according to official statistics. Among the exhibition’s visitors, Osama Mansi – an employee – points out that the exhibition this year coincides with unprecedented waves of frost and cold in Egypt, where the maximum temperature reached only five and six degrees, which made the feeling of cold overwhelming, stressing that he was keen nonetheless To accompany his family to follow the joyful rituals offered by the fair for free, such as theater performances, circus and acrobatics, as well as poetry and music evenings.
Sarah Aziz – a housewife – explains that she is a fanatical fan of the Egyptian national football team, and she was keen to attend the exhibition to buy a list of books in conjunction with the team’s matches in the playoffs, especially the matches of Morocco and Cameroon, where the main square of the exhibition turns into an open stadium where culture and sports mix Pleasantly, the encouragement becomes in its finest form, as these are not the audience of cafes and cafés, but rather the audience of books and literary seminars!
Mona Saad, a former school principal, believes that the insane rise in the price of books comes as a handful of dust thrown on a beautiful painting. The National Center for Translation offers valuable books at affordable prices, but the disadvantages are that the suites are overcrowded, and the printing is not of the required quality, which makes the book vulnerable to rapid deterioration.
Muhammad Shair, journalistic writer and literary researcher, praises hologram technology and artificial intelligence techniques as one of the distinctive and new features of the exhibition in its current session, as well as the development of the first digital platform for selling books electronically, as well as allocating open public spaces for vernacular poets and not for closed, remote halls.
Dr. Alaa Al-Jabri – literary critic and head of the Arabic language department at Suez Canal University – believes that the organizers of the exhibition were very successful in choosing the slogan for the current session “Egypt’s Identity – Culture and the Question of the Future” given the attempts that the country and some Arab countries witnessed to tamper with the components of their identity in favor of currents A certain obscurantism monopolizes the truth, rejects the other, and is hostile to diversity and tolerance, stressing that the great writer Yahya Haqqi’s selection as the personality of this year’s exhibition was a good choice in the context of shedding light on the pioneers of culture who were almost threatened by the danger of forgetting and falling from the memory of new generations, pointing out that he was honored to participate in his talk about This great pioneer, a “historian and critic of literature,” sheds light on the paradox that Haqi was of Turkish origin, yet he was able to digest and renew the Arabic language and graft it with vocabulary from the classical vernacular or the “third language,” which stands in an intermediate position between classical and colloquial.
Al-Jabri added: “One of the important features of the book fair in this session is that the academics and writers are not alone in the scene. specializations.”
For his part, the novelist and literary researcher Mustafa Obeid believes that the organizers of the current session were right in choosing the timing of the exhibition, which coincided with the mid-year exams in the secondary and university education stages, which lost the exhibition about 70% of its striking power, explaining that this problem could have been avoided. By bringing forward the date of the exhibition by several days so that these participants can participate and give this event its usual momentum.
Obaid points out that one of the remarkable phenomena when reviewing the titles of the new publications in the exhibition is this keen interest in history, reviewing the past and restoring the biography of many of the characters of past times, which is a positive phenomenon where the novel is no longer the dominant one on the printing press, but rather there has become something of diversity that enriches the scene. general intellectual.
Obaid added: “There are always negatives and shortcomings witnessed by the exhibition this year, which are repeated in many sessions, the most important of which is in my perception the phenomenon of book piracy or allowing the display and sale of forged books that were photographed, reprinted and sold to the public to achieve a higher profit than the project. It is a widespread phenomenon in the Egyptian book market, and it is evident in the wings of some small houses and the book brushes of (the Azbakeya wall) inside the exhibition. In it, popular books are counterfeited and sold to the public at the same price or less than the official price. In most cases, many readers cannot distinguish between a legitimately printed book and a forged book.” He asserts, that there were reports submitted by some publishers against book pirates during the exhibition, and the administration of the exhibition interacted with them, but the size of the seized is always less than 10% of the pirated books in circulation. Such a phenomenon is killing the publishing market and represents an aggression against the rights of the author and all book makers. Other than that, the exhibition was full of new creations.
Publisher Nora Rashad – Executive Director of the Egyptian Lebanese House – points out that one of the new phenomena in this session is the remarkable recovery of the electronic and audio book market, which coincided with the “Corona” pandemic, in addition to the low price of these books compared to their paper counterpart, the ease of storage and the lack of Problems related to shipping or transportation, stressing that there are no specific numbers or statistics documenting the extent of the spread of these e-books and audiobooks.
Mahmoud Abd al-Nabi, director of Ibadi House, points out that even in the case of a paper book, it is the growing phenomenon of selling it through electronic platforms “online”, where it is sufficient for the reader to browse the website of this or that house, then request the book and reach it until His house included a slight difference in shipping, explaining that all of this ultimately serves the publisher and reader alike.
Hussein Othman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Risha” for Publishing and Distribution, stresses that the paper book has a value that cannot be lost, and this is confirmed by sales figures around the world and Egyptian and Arab book fairs, stressing that with regard to the exhibition’s sales in its current session, the matter is not better than The last session, which was held on an exceptional date, and adds: “Attendance is less than usual or expected, and perhaps the rise in the wave of the Corona virus or Omicron, weather fluctuations, the global inflation wave, and the continuation of the mid-year leave exams so far, are all reasons that contributed to the low rate of public turnout and consequently the lack of sales ».
In terms of bestsellers, the novel continues to top the scene, along with books on nostalgia and re-reading of history, as well as autobiographies and memoirs.