More than half a million visitors attended the 30th Sharjah International Book Fair that ended Saturday, organisers announced yesterday. The sales of books exceeded all expectations as it surpassed $50 million (Dh183 million), with an increase of 25 per cent from last year\'s session, where Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Iran and the UAE came among the most countries with sales focus. During the closing ceremony, His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, stressed that the great success of the 30th edition of the book fair was a result of 30 years of hard work and cultural accumulation of the emirate, built on solid foundations. ‘Keen to have diversity\' Article continues below \"We are not seeking the quantum of what we offer from cultural programmes, but we are keen to have diversity in all our cultural programmes that serve different segments of intellectuals. \"Without a doubt, the overwhelming response received by the various cultural programmes of the Book Fair is an evidence of the success of these programmes. Shaikh Sultan said he plans to meet with Emirati writers and intellectuals so that \"we can enhance the cultural vision and its development in the UAE.\" Participants Up to 90 publishers representing 50 countries participated in this year\'s 10-day book fair that offered about 300,000 titles. \"Award-winning Arabic novels witnessed a large interest from visitors, attracting 580,000 visitors coming from all over the world. \"Since its inception 30 years ago, the 30th edition of the book fair witnessed the unexpected as we received a large crowd of visitors and media outlets, as well as from Arab and international publishers,\" said Ahmad Al Ameri, Director of Sharjah International Book Fair. The exhibition hosted a group of journalists, publishers and writers, through a series of seminars and programmes that catered to visitors of all ages. Next year\'s event is expected to take place on November 7, 2012.