The Jeddah Book Fair was in town at Events Land – South Obhur (12 – 22nd December).
Here’s a list of things that impressed us the most:
1. The entire plan of the venue was well organized and visitor friendly.
Every visitor was handed a publishing house floor plan guide in both Arabic and English. There were self-service kiosks which visitors could use to search for particular books, publishing houses, authors and even genres. The whole venue was able to accommodate around 100,000 visitors per day. The car parking was pleasantly spacious enough for most drivers to park and wait or even go on a stroll along the Corniche. There were numerous separate entrances for men and women, with security officials making sure the entire event went smoothly.
2. In addition to the many exits and entrances to avoid congestion, visitors were greeted by event ushers and volunteers to guide them to specific exhibition areas.
Volunteers were available to cater to the large influx of people, and almost all volunteers spoke both English and Arabic.
3. As there were no restaurants (for the safety of the books) at the exhibition, there were coffee houses and snack outlets for all the hungry readers.
4. Major bookstores such as Virgin Megastore, Jarir, and Obeikan were present, promoting best-selling books in Arabic and English, offering discounted reads and comic books – Marvel fans rejoiced!
The Saudi Post also pitched in with offers to deliver books to homes.
5. In addition to scheduled book signings, there were a variety of Workshops being offered including:
- Arabic Calligraphy
- How to use social media
- ‘I Read’ Program by King Abdul Aziz Cultural Center with Aramco
- Playwriting skills
- Creative writing for children
- Children development skills
And also discussion forums for reading enthusiasts such as:
- Social media’s role in breaking stereotypes
- Premiere of ‘Do I See You’; the play
- Poetry in The Kingdom
- Jeddah and arts
- Human sciences, reality and role playing
- The Relationship between author and publisher
- The art of critique
6. This exhibition catered to everyone including students, teachers, researchers, enthusiasts, poets, authors, parents and children, international and local; by providing a wide variety of genres in academics, literature and research.
7. The overall design and architecture of the exhibition was impressive starting with the projected art on the outdoor walls and book-shaped gates which really helped create a build-up of excitement.
8. Not only did they have books, but they also had book accessories such as book marks, office stationery and fake nacho chips.
9. Even though the exhibition was held slightly further out of Jeddah, the view of the Corniche and the breezy weather definitely made up for the longer journey.
Also, Kudos to the organizers for choosing the perfect time of the year to hold this event.
10. Last but not least, this event would not have been as successful without the huge influx of patient and super-excited buyers who even brought along suitcases to fill up with purchases.