The 25th anniversary edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, ADIBF, wrapped up on a high with a record 269,680 visitors generating sales in excess of Dh35 million during the seven days of opening.
Running from 7th-13th May, the record turn-out, a nine percent increase over 2014's edition, reinforces the fair's status as the fastest-growing regional book fair, and cements its position as a major professional fixture for regional and international publishers.
The annual gathering of authors, publishers, industry professionals and booksellers is organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
"The success of this year's 25th edition further enhances our standing within the professional publishing and literary sphere, and reinforces our belief that there remains a very healthy appetite for our eclectic combination of authors, professional speakers, conferences, awards ceremonies, reading sessions and cultural activities to be delivered in a quality professional environment such as this," said Juma Al Qubaisi, ADIBF Director and Executive Director of the National library, a division of TCA Abu Dhabi.
Celebrating its Silver Jubilee edition, ADIBF 2015 featured a series of panels and seminars under the theme ‘Sheikh Zayed: light illuminates the future' dedicated to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, who was this year's focus personality. A dedicated exhibition charted his intellectual legacy based on his belief in education and culture as fundamental pillars for building a strong, modern state and developing international relations life.
This year also saw dramatic growth in the number of young visitors attend the fair, with 56,600 pupils and students from 1,415 schools and universities attending, an increase of 17 percent on last year.
"Abu Dhabi International Book Fair remains the pre-eminent platform for cultural exchange, leading to local and global literary growth and development," said Al Qubaisi, "The increase in the number of young readers evidences a thirst for knowledge, the foundations of which were laid when our founding father, the late Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed al Nahyan inaugurated the first edition in 1981. This silver jubilee edition has been delivered in his honour," added Al Qubaisi.
Tribute was also played to the literary production of the Republic of Iceland, this year's Guest of Honour, and the cream of the island's literary scene provided a fascinating insight into this Nordic country's artistic output and talented authors.
The Iceland Pavilion displayed a selection of books and publications from the country's authors, covering subjects from poetry, drama, fiction and crime to children's books, and illustrations, along with an extensive programme of special guests and lectures from published and prominent Icelanders to illuminate visitors.
This year's edition attracted a quality audience due to the increase in the number of exhibitors: a total of 600 authors and 1,181 publishers from 63 countries participated in the event, an increase of 5 and 10 percent respectively. They displayed more than 500,000 titles in 30 languages.
ADIBF also featured several specialised platforms, including an extended e-zone service provider's area where leaders in digital publishing, new technology, digital content and publishing services tackled the opportunities and challenges facing the future of an evolving digital industry. These themes will be carried forward and more widely emphasised in next year's edition.
The fair's 2015 Professional Programme hosted more than 100 sessions and over 70 speakers, and introduced the ADIBF Academy Programme, designed to impart professional skills to participants in preparation for a career in either education or publishing in the 21st Century. The Spotlight on Rights grant subsidy scheme also attracted 200 applications during the course of the fair.