As the major event in the book sector in Iran, the Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) is a 10-day opportunity for many Iranians to enjoy browsing among books.
Visitors who have attended the book fair in recent years are well aware of its technical and spatial deficiencies, but what are the reasons that they prefer to overlook their less-than-pleasant experiences of past fairs?
The stands for general publishers are located at the Shabestan which is divided by partitions into stands for each publication. The publishers are still arranged along the aisles in alphabetical order, despite many years of recommendations by scholars that publications be organized according to their subject matter. However, the exhibitors do not deem this a major problem for the book fair or else they simply do not consider this to be one of their priorities. Like the visitors, they too are affected by the inadequacies of the book fair.
In an interview with Tehran Times, the culture and academic deputy director of the state-run Amir Kabir Publications Saied Karami lamented the fact that the book fair has primarily turned into another bookstore.
The book fair is packed with public visitors and this diminishes opportunities for foreign publishers to visit the fair and sign agreements, he added.
Seyyed Ali Mirahmadi, the director of the Esra Publishing Center which mainly publishes books by Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli, is happy with the crowds of visitors.
He said that both publishers and visitors benefit from the book fair and the alphabetical order of the stands gives a chance for visitors to be exposed to stands with books which may not be in his or her main area of interest.
The head of the public relations office of the Ney Publications Mohammadreza Nematpur pointed to the opportunities for perusal of books by visitors as the main feature of the book fair according to the organizers of the event.
He said that holding the book fair at the Mosalla is just like "cooking food in the guestroom. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance should create a cultured atmosphere for visitors at the book fair; they should perceive that they are in a prestigious space while at the book fair" he added.
TIBF is the only exhibition held annually at the Imam Khomeini Mosalla. Despite having plenty of time for planning the book fair, the stands do not have specific decorations to attract visitors or encourage them to buy a particular book.
Great world book fairs can be regarded as voices of experience for us. Renowned book fairs that are held in London and Frankfurt promote 'new markets, developing client relationships or acquire industry knowledge'. However, TIBF remains a bookstore and one of the main reasons why may be because of laxity of copyright protection in Iran.
Nonetheless, TIBF still provides a great opportunity for publishers to market their books to customers and to rid themselves of cheques issued by book distributors, as well as a chance for authors to evaluate the popularity of their works.
Anyway, it seems that not many people are deterred from attending the Tehran International Book Fair. Other than citizens of Tehran and those large cities that have the benefit of the pleasant atmosphere found inside a branch of Book City, many people are deprived of a place to enjoy books. TIBF provides the only opportunity for such Iranians to enjoy books and delight others with reading.
... Payvand News - 05/14/11 ... --