Qatar’s 27th annual Doha International Book Fair will open on Nov. 30, with some 33 countries and 490 publishing houses participating this year.
It will go on for 10 days at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC), near City Center mall.
In a break from tradition, Qatar’s Year of Culture partner will not be the fair’s guest of honor, officials said.
It is unclear why, but fair director Ibrahim Al Sayed told media that China has apologized for not being able to take part. No replacement has been announced yet.
The fair’s theme this year is “Read,” in keeping with the Ministry of Culture and Sports’ push to create “a society conscious of its need of an authentically good and sound body.”
This year’s offerings will include 104,000 titles, out of which 15,219 are new, Al Sayed said in a media briefing this week.
While books sold in stores in Qatar can be subject to intense inspection, items shipped here for the fair do not undergo as much scrutiny due to their volume.
This means the fair is the least censored book exhibition in the country, said Hamad Al Zakiba, director of publications.
Some 890 stands will be selling books this year, including best-selling academic and children’s books from the US and UK.
There will also be daily seminars and workshops.
On the final day, Qatar’s minister of culture and sports will meet with authors, journalists and intellectuals to discuss pressing cultural issues.
The exhibition space will be expanded this year from 20,000 to 23,500 square meters.
This is to provide sufficient space for the five new countries that will have stands, along with the overall extended offerings.
According to Al-Sharq, Al Sayed said book discounts will be offered:
“We asked publishers and exhibitors to provide at least a 25 percent discount, and we are working to offer even more of it, taking into account the costs of high prices. Despite the costs, we will still push towards offering good discounts.”
There will be more than 100 volunteers to help guide shoppers around, as well as helpers available to assist visitors in carrying their books.
In addition, there will be free WiFi, 10,000 carts provided for shoppers, restaurants/cafes and ATM machines.
The fair is open Saturdays to Thursdays from 9am to 5pm.
On Fridays, it will be open from 4pm until 11pm. (The Friday timing is incorrectly stated on the fair’s official website.)
Do you plan to check out the fair this year? Thoughts?