After witnessing huge response from book lovers, the 30th edition of the Doha International Book Fair concluded yesterday with the participation of around 320,000 visitors who bought over 210,000 books in the last 10 days.
“A total of 319,937 people visited this year’s 10-day long book fair, while the daily turnout of book lovers was 31,994.
"About 215,840 books were sold during the book fair,” said Hamad Mohammed Al Zakiba, Director of the Culture and Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
Al Zakiba also said yesterday during an open forum with H E the Minister of Culture and Sports, organised at the fair in the presence of a number of writers and intellectuals, that “the number of activities during the exhibition reached 453, which were attended by about 74 guests, while the seminars and lectures were attended by 3,678 people.”
Regarding the workshops for children, he said it was attended by 2,700 people, while 685 schools visited the fair.
He added that the Ministry is concerned with the content of books and not only the number of books that are published, but what is important is the content.
The forum discussed the successes of the 30th edition of the Doha International Book Fair compared to previous editions and the Ministry’s support for cultural affairs and the publishing houses.
The Fair was held under the slogan “Do you then not ponder?”, with the participation of 335 publishing houses from 31 countries. Also the number of the pavilions of Arabic books is 559, represented by 228 publishing houses, and the number of foreign pavilions is 91 pavilions represented by 35 foreign publishers.
The Minister of Culture and Sports, H E Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, said that the book fair is for everyone and not just for the writers and intellectuals. It is not also a place to sell books despite the increase in the number of publishing houses and the number of participating countries, but it is a place that enriches culture.
He added that everyone was allowed to participate in the fair. “We banned only few books, not more than seven, as the Ministry prohibits only books that offend a race or a certain segment or offend religions”.
The Minister said: “In Qatar there are 200 nationalities, and this was taken into consideration for cultural diversity, as a number of radio stations were opened”.
The speakers in the forum appreciated the book fair, especially related to seminars, lectures, and workshops, which did not affect the sales movement, and they praised the good organisation of the exhibition.
They also talked about the issue of censorship on books, as there has become a lot of freedom in participating books compared to the previous editions.