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SIBC 2024 concludes with sessions rich in discussions

by | Apr 29, 2024 | News

The Sharjah International Booksellers Conference (SIBC) 2024 concluded on a high note, offering attendees a wealth of knowledge, networking opportunities, and inspiration to succeed within the evolving publishing industry. Welcoming over 550 publishers, distributors, and booksellers from 76 countries the conference asserted its position as a regional and international platform for growth and discourse within the industry.

 

During the event, participants engaged in discussions on innovative strategies to sustain and enhance the publishing industry’s growth. Topics included digital marketing, logistical distribution, industry transformations, meeting reader needs in the digital age, and other pertinent subjects crucial for the industry’s success and evolution.

 

Mansour Al Hassani, Director of Publisher Services at the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) organisers of this annual gathering, stated: “The Sharjah International Booksellers Conference 2024 has once again demonstrated the acumen and dynamism of the publishing industry, and we aim to provide an unparalleled platform for knowledge-sharing, networking, and strategic collaboration. This annual gathering is a testament to the collective vision of publishers, distributors, and booksellers worldwide to drive the growth and evolution of this vital sector. As we look to the future, I am confident that the insights, connections, and inspiration gained here will empower our community to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead, ultimately elevating the written word and enriching the lives of readers globally.” 

 

Enlightening keynote conversations

Starting proceedings on the second day of the conference, Emile Tyan, Chairman and CEO of Librairie Antoine, a prominent bookstore chain in Lebanon, established in 1933, delivered a captivating keynote address in conversation with Nadia Wassef, the co-founder of Diwan Bookstores in Egypt. Tyan reflected on the significance of family businesses and the enduring power of understanding one’s customer market across generations, saying “Honouring the legacy of our family businesses we have embraced the connection that comes from knowing our customers not just as patrons, but as generations of readers whose stories intertwine with ours. It is this intimate understanding that transcends time, shaping the very essence of our trade.” As a distinguished leader in the bookselling industry, Tyan has been at the forefront of advancing literature and cultural exchange throughout his extensive 30-year career.

 

Another keynote speech and presentation delivered by Dr. Ahmed Rewihel, the co-founder and CBO of Arabookverse in the United Kingdom and Egypt, gave attendees the opportunity to learn from his insights on the digital distribution of e-books and audiobooks, as well as strategies for developing the publishing and distribution industry in the Arab market. Reflecting on the potential of these technologies for the region, Dr. Royehel eloquently stated, “The digital revolution has ushered in a new era of boundless possibilities for the Arab publishing world. By embracing the power of e-books and audiobooks, we can transcend geographical barriers and bring the written word to the fingertips of readers across the Arab world. This presents a unique opportunity to amplify diverse voices, bridge cultural divides, and foster a deeper appreciation for the rich literary heritage of our region.”

 

Networking and growth opportunities

To facilitate direct networking and foster partnerships between major booksellers and publishers representing diverse regions, a number of special meetings were organised by the conference. These exclusive sessions were designed to create a conducive environment for industry leaders to engage in meaningful discussions, forge connections, and explore collaborative opportunities that promote cross-cultural exchange and business growth. By orchestrating these targeted meetings, the conference aimed to establish synergies, encourage knowledge sharing, and pave the way for innovative partnerships that transcend geographical boundaries.

 

The final day continued with round-table sessions and workshops, highlighting various issues in the world of publishing and distribution. Speakers discussed mechanisms for maximising the use of social media, building strong customer relationships, and attracting new readers. They also emphasised the importance of data analysis to understand the behaviours of the target audience and the effective use of targeted advertising.

 

Alongside this, were a number of activities and enlightening sessions to specifically empower women within the publishing industry, conducted by PublisHer. Ms. Kritee Sharma, the titled “Breaking Barriers in Publishing,” where she discussed the role of women in the publishing sector and highlighted the increasing share and influence of women in the industry on a global scale.

 

As the 2024 International Booksellers Conference drew to a close, the resounding sentiment among attendees was one of optimism and renewed determination. The success of this year’s conference has solidified its position as a premier platform for industry discourse, collaboration, and the collective advancement of the publishing world.

 

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