Abu Dhabi participates in virtual meeting of Arab book fair directors

 The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) participated in a virtual meeting organised by the Arab Publishers Association, to discuss the future of hosting book fairs in Arab countries and the new realities brought forth by the global pandemic.

The meeting was attended by directors of Arab book fairs and the Exhibitions Committee of the Arab Publishers Association, in addition to several members of the Association’s Board of Directors. The discussion enabled participants to continue working towards the common vision of ensuring the continuity of the Arab publishing sector and supporting the exhibition industry.

A wide range of topics and themes were explored during the meeting, in an effort to formulate recommendations and develop practical solutions to challenges faced by Arab writers, readers and publishing industry professionals. The meeting also highlighted the importance of spreading Arab culture and ensuring the delivery of cultural literature to audiences.

“With the internet continuing to be a popular first point of reference and a key source of information for readers, especially during these times of social distancing and staying at home, the impact on the publishing industry has been significant. However, this has granted us the opportunity to develop solutions that can help promote the publishing industry and utilise digital technology at the same time,” said Abdullah Majed Al Ali, Executive Director of the Dar Al Kutub sector at DCT Abu Dhabi.

Al Ali added: “It is imperative that we continue to coordinate local and regional efforts in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on Arab writers and exhibitioners, and to support the work of Arab publishers as they adjust to the digital shift in their industry.”

The meeting concluded with a surplus of recommendations, many of which could have a significant impact on the future of the Arab publishing industry. These include a proposal for the creation of an online platform for holding virtual Arab book fairs, complete with a marketing plan to promote the virtual fairs and encourage readers to “visit” and purchase books.

Arab publishers were also urged to use digital platforms, in order to adapt to today’s fast-paced exchanges of information. Meeting attendees also recommended the creation of digital platforms suitable for Arab publishers and partnering with the Arab Publishers Association to send lists of modern books to universities, cultural institutes, and educational bodies.

The recommendations aim to drive focus to the role of the Arab publisher in content development, to facilitate exchange of information within the publishing industry, and to support the idea of ??setting up internal exhibitions and events for local publishers.

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