SIBF exempts all publishers from participation fees

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah Filed on November 9, 2020
Photo by Shihab / Khaleej Times

Rental fees worth Dh6 million have been waived.

All 1,024 publishing houses at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) have been exempted from stand rental fees.

Valued at Dh6 million, the exemption has been ordered by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in a show of support for publishers worldwide. The generous gesture is aimed at helping the book industry bounce back into business in the face of Covid-triggered challenges.

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), which organises the book fair, said: “Via this landmark decision, the Ruler of Sharjah sends a message to the world to emphasise that the health and stability of societies are ensured by their cultural realities. Therefore, renewing the strength of the promoters and champions of culture is paramount, given our current realities.

“The basis of a vibrant culture are books, and the Sharjah International Book Fair is its home. By fully supporting the participation of each and every publisher here at SIBF 2020, we become the first international book fair in the world to entirely exempt publishers from participation fees.”

Maryam A. from Khartoum Press Publishing House said this “great news” is a big help for the publishing industry not only in the Arab world but the rest of the world.

“This would help us weather the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Besides the pandemic, countries around the world have also been facing several other challenges, from natural disasters to political conflicts. In Sudan, such crises have affected the industry. This will be a big help,” she said.

Richard Arani, owner of Librairie Stephan, said the announcement made their day. “It is not a strange step for the Sharjah Ruler who has always been generous in supporting Arab culture. We really appreciate this gesture which would make great changes and help the publishers thrive in the industry.”

Antoin Saad, owner of Lebanese publishing house Al Saer Al Mashrequ, said the support comes at a crucial time for them. “For us in Lebanon, which is still reeling under various crises and disasters, this generosity would go a long way. This will help revive the Lebanese publishing industry and keep the country’s vibrant culture alive despite challenges.”

Afkar Abdullah

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