The Riyadh International Book Fair, which was held from 5th to 15th March 2013, registered a record sale of 71 million and 645 thousand Saudi riyals. Around 3 million visitors from more than 32 countries participated at the show. More than 970 publishing houses and over 250,000 paper titles and more than one million and 200 thousand e-titles were exhibited.
Several publishing houses signed contracts for printing books, and said that the book fair is no longer limited to being a place to sell books but also plays an important role in the industry where new deals and discussions are done.
The General Commission for Survey in KSA participated for the first time at the book fair and also exhibited the marine map of the Kingdom. Mohammed Awad Al Omran, stand supervisor said to ME Printer that the General Commission for Survey acts as a reference point, when it comes to tracking geographic information of the country. He said that the centre plays an important role in establishing national geodetic networks across the country, which helps a lot in the efficient completion of national surveys.
Meanwhile, Riyadh newspaper quoted that a number of printing press owners have called for more attention to the sector and also criticized the way in which the organizers of the International Book Fair dealt with them. They demanded that more spaces should be allocated to them in future exhibitions.
Abdul Aziz Al-Ghamdi, Head of printing committee in Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “Local printing presses are dealt with a kind of prejudice compared to foreign publishers.” Al Ghamdi said that many publishers prefer printing outside the kingdom, as publishers have to get prior permits, either from the Culture and Information centre or from the library of King Abdulaziz, for printing. He said that books were then printed in Beirut or in Italy, though the printing presses in the Kingdom are considered to be one of the finest in the world.
He revealed that an existing project by the Printing Committee and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry has aimed to determine the size of the local print market.
Abdulkarim bin Abdullah bin Laden, a member of the press committee said that the printing industry in the Kingdom has advanced significantly. He said that only through opening more institutes to train young people, printing presses can equip themselves to produce print quality with international standards.
Jamal Mohammed, production manager at a printing press explained that the Ministry of Culture and Information should encourage and support Saudi printing institutions and should emphasis on printing brochures and other trade publications within the Kingdom and utilize the resources available in the region.