Major booksellers to speak on current trends at 3rd Sharjah International Booksellers Conference (April 27 & 28)

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 26: Major booksellers and literary experts will discuss the latest trends revolving around books and bookselling at the 3rd International Booksellers Conference in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on April 27 and 28.

Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the annual event aims to convene booksellers, distributors, and publishers from the region and beyond.

Keith Thong, Chairman of the Malaysian Book Industry Chamber and President of the Malaysian Booksellers Association, has been invited to the conference.

“The conference would provide an excellent forum for discussing key industry issues, enabling networking, fostering partnerships, exploring new business avenues, and exchanging valuable insights,” he told the Weekly Echo.

Keith Thong, Chairman of the Malaysian Book Industry Chamber and President of the Malaysian Booksellers Association

The event, to be held at the Expo Centre Sharjah, also reflects SBA’s dedication to enhancing the publishing industry.

The conference will feature keynote speeches, roundtables and workshops led by booksellers, publishers, experts, and sector leaders to tackle the challenges of the book market, seize opportunities presented by advancements in digital technology, and explore the latest trends and strategies to advance the sector.

It will also discuss ways to integrate entities in the book industry ecosystem and enhance coordination and information exchange, which is in line with SBA’s mission to build a comprehensive regional and global ecosystem that advances the sector and provides the necessary support.

Findings from past conferences highlighted the healthy co-existence between physical books (80%) and digital (20%), and the growth of the industry via e-commerce.

Among the topics to be discussed at the conference are “Bookstores in Shopping Malls”, “Bookstores and Literary Fests”, “Bookstore Partnerships”, “Making the most of social media”, “Collaboration between distributors, publishers and bookstores” and “Curating and selling graphic novels”,

Other topics up for discussion are “Beyond the Bookstore: Selling books outside of your own shop”, “Magnifying the voice of the bookseller with AI”, “Visual Merchandising – the Do’s and Don’ts”, “Book Stunts – Promoting books with out of the box thinking” and “Stock Curation and Product Mix”. 

The conference will also feature topics on “Strategic planning for bookstore management…how do you create your own cultural brand?”, “Smart Content Distribution”, “Innovative working methods for distributing children’s books” and “How to conclude agreements with distributors, and what are the benefits accruing to these agreements”.

An interesting feature of this year’s conference is its focus on women in publishing with its “PublisHer Lounge” series of events exclusively for women in publishing to help women pursuing careers in publishing by building an international network and creating access to peer guidance and support.

This year’s presentations include “Styling advice from a professional to improve one’s professional look”, “What not to wear”, “How to take one’s LinkedIn profile to the next level”, “Breaking barriers in publishing”, “Understanding the landscape of women’s leadership in publishing” and “Making your mark as a woman in publishing”.

All in all, the International Booksellers Conference in Sharjah has been providing many elements that reinforce the emirate’s status as a global cultural hub and a centre for events supporting the book industry, including publishing and distribution, and facilitating access to knowledge sources.