By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: Due to the pandemic, all exhibitions and fairs were canceled in Kuwait, and the International Fairground was and still is being used for medical purposes. The Kuwait Book Fair is the most popular book fair in the region, visited by thousands of people – even from outside Kuwait – in previous years.
This year it was canceled and replaced by a virtual book fair – the Kuwait Virtual Book Fair, organized by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) and operated by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). The virtual fair was launched last month, and yesterday it was extended till the end of February 2021.
Over 70 publishing houses are participating in the e-book fair with over 7,000 titles. Apart from Arabic books, there are also many English publications from different fields. “The door is open for more publishers to join the fair. During the regular book fair, local publishing houses only used to sell their publications at the fair, but at this virtual fair, these publishing houses have authorization from other publishing houses to sell their publications,” Mohammed Al-Hasan, Director of the E-book Fair, told Kuwait Times.
Participating publishers offer delivery services. “Delivery inside Kuwait is free of charge within five days, but usually it’s sooner than that. Publishers also provide delivery outside Kuwait for a special price. Also KFAS’ publications are available at special discounted prices that reach over 50 percent. KFAS reduced the prices of its publications during the pandemic to encourage people to read during this extraordinary period. And now there are further reductions in this fair,” Hasan added.
The fair is great opportunity to view and buy the latest publications. “People wait for the book fair to check out the latest books that were published this year. There are many new publications in 2020, and the fair’s website is systematically updated. Also, we have many individual publishers such as some authors who are personally participating in this fair with their books,” stressed Hasan.
There are cultural and scientific activities too at the E-book Fair. “In cooperation with NCCAL, we have online seminars and symposiums on social media on literature, sciences and other fields. We also review participating books to allow the visitors to get an idea about them,” concluded Hasan. You can visit the E-book Fair on the website https://ebookfair.nccal.gov.kw/