SHARJAH, 17th May, 2022 (WAM) — Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), reassured booksellers from 56 nations at the world’s first International Booksellers Conference in Sharjah, that they are not alone in promoting the culture of reading in their communities and reinforce people’s awareness about the importance of books.
“Publishers will support you in this mission,” she said adding that the industry will extend its full support to ensure that booksellers can continue achieving greater results.
“As the African saying goes, ‘Alone we can go faster, but together we can go further,'” the IPA President further said.
Sheikha Bodour was delivering a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the two-day conference organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) at their headquarters on the sidelines of the ongoing 13th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF).
The platform has convened more than 385 booksellers, distributors, publishing experts and business consultants to discuss current and future trends in bookselling, and look into ways to better streamline industry efforts to advance the book business ecosystem regionally and globally.
“I know booksellers have been doing an excellent job finding creative ways to engage readers and put books in their hands. Your efforts have become even more urgent now in the face of ever-changing readers’ needs and behaviours, and the increasing digital distractions in everyday life. Since the outset of the global pandemic, collaboration and solidarity emerged as the single most vital component in ensuring we remain resilient in the face of complex challenges,” Sheikha Bodour added.
Ahmed Al Ameri: All our initiatives are products of solid cultural foundations laid by Sharjah Welcoming guests and attendees, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), said, “By organising the world’s first-of-its-kind conference, we look forward to offering a platform for networking and exchange as we implement the vision of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to support the book industry and its contributions to shaping our future.”
“At the Sharjah Book Authority, we affirm that all our programmes and initiatives are rooted in a solid cultural foundation with a reputable international standing, and these help advance the cultural movement by supporting translation, honouring creatives, and investing in the infrastructure of the publishing sector,” he added.
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On the first day of the conference, attendees heard from an expert-led panel that shed light on best practices and case studies in community engagement and sales performance, delving into the role of digital channels, including websites, social media, e-newsletters and e-commerce.
A second panel session discussed stock curation and presentation and staff training in customer service, exploring strategies to optimise customers’ browsing and discovery experience to maximise sales.
The inaugural day concluded with participants touring the Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) Free Zone where the SBA headquarters are located. They presented their titles, and also engaged with each other and explored new market opportunities in a series of “Matchmaking” and networking sessions.