3rd Sharjah International Booksellers Conference Facilitates New Partnerships, Growth and Learning Opportunities










The third edition of the International Booksellers Conference, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority’s (SBA), on April 27-28 at Expo Centre Sharjah had 550 Professionals (Booksellers, Publishers, Distributors) from 76 countries. The platform provided a dynamic blend of Keynote conversations, workshops, presentations, publisher pitches, networking for exchange of ideas and more.



















Bodour Al Qasimi – Chairperson, Sharjah Book Authority, welcomed professionals with the Keynote Address in which she emphasised that this conference again is a testament to Sharjah’s unwavering commitment towards promoting- Bookselling, Publishing and beyond.She said, “We must realise that the boundaries of our industry have become increasingly difficult to define and in these transformative times we must stand united. The challenges we face may vary across regions, but our diversity remains our true strength, this conference is an example of global collaborations. It is this diversity that propels our Industry forward igniting innovation and fostering growth, let us take this opportunity to engage with colleagues from diverse markets, listen to their unique perspectives and learn from their experiences.Together we can navigate the challenges and engage the opportunities that lies ahead.”


Experiences Shared
The keynote speakers shared experiences in their respective areas adding to the learning  of the audience.






Andrea Giunti
, Executive vice-president, GiuntiEditore S.P.A the second largest publishing house in Italy and VP of Giunti al Punto, the largest bookstorechain in Italy with 267 stores spoke to Porter Anderson about the group’s goals, distribution, promotion and innovative experiments. He shared details in having 4.2 million loyalty card members, 20 million plus receipts in 2023, details of theirstunning Florence flagship store which was opened in November 2023 -which is Bookstore, Cinema and Café. He emphasised the importance of being kind to the customer.










Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg
, Chairperson and Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG), and is also a published author. Her biography was the first of its kind by an Emirati businesswoman. The second book- The Power of Authenticity: Three Principles of Leadership; is a candid account of the obstacles and triumphsshe faced on her path to becomingone of the most influential businesswomen in the Arab world- motivated the audience with   her views on a life with purpose, role of woman, leadership, power of mentorship and belief in self.
















Emile Tyan CEO of Librairie Antoine, the leading bookstore chain in Lebanon with 12 branches across the country spoke to Nadia Wassef Co-Founder, Diwan Bookstores the importance of implementing innovative strategies which have helped them leverage digital technologies for enhancing sales and marketing efforts. He emphasised the importance of constantly renewing self, knowing what the customer wants, engagement to the customer via social media and constantly learning to adapt as a key to success!









Ahmed Rewihel
Co-Founder & CBO Arabookverse shared the Arabic audio and eBook market insights-their growth, challenges, accessibility and availability of Digital content distribution.He shared currently there are 13 million monthly digital Arabic book consumers in 2024 out of which less than 4 % pay for digital books.  Having a CAGR of 16 % By 2026 the consumers will be 17.5 million monthly digital Arabic book consumers.

Buzz around the Roundtable Workshops and PublisHer Lounge

























The workshops were on topics, such as Partnerships in bookselling, Making the most of social media, Community Engagement, Magnifying the voice of the Bookseller with AI, Stock Curation, Strategic planning, Curating and selling graphic novels and many more. There were six Arabic language sessions on: Distributor and Publisher Brand, Publishing in the AI era, Strategic planning for bookstore management, Smart content distribution, Innovative working methods for distributing children’s books, Agreements with distributors.A new segment of ‘PublisHer’ was added to promote and support women.

Agnes Debiage,ACDF Consulting (France) discussed Beyond the Bookstore: Selling books outside of your own shop. Ideas to be more creative to enhance visibility and to meet potential customers.












Ajay Mago, OM Books (India) shared the advantages of Bookstores in shopping malls and said that this helped in a diverse audience, extended hours of shopping, increased brand visibility, presence in a social hub etc. He emphasised the importance of the mall location along with importance of the location of the store in the mall. He gave interesting insights about the size of the store, expenses in relation to gross revenue to achieve breakeven.

Fatimah Abbas,Fala Agency (Egypt) spoke about Publishing in the AI Era and explained key concepts, AI in publishing, audio, electronic, impact, challenges and future trends.












Govind Dee Cee,DC Books (India) shared the vibrancy of the Kerala Literature Festival with its 330-sessions attracting about half a million people in the 4 days. He enlightened the groups as to how literature festivals help people get to know new authors and the alchemy of a literature festivals. He also gave insights into the book stores run by DC Books.











Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore (USA) discussed Bookstore Partnerships, where in the book store can partner with other individuals, bookstores, authors/ publishers, university, restaurant, theatres etc – to raise awareness, book sales and collaborations.











Jose Manuel Anta, FANDE (Spain) emphasised the importance of Collaboration between distributors, publishers and bookstores and the 4 C-Community, Curation, Convenience and Connection for an Independent Bookseller to thrive. He gave examples of how one can leverage technology to understand consumer choice and enhance profitability.











Steve Jones, Kinokuniya (UAE) shared his knowledge and different examples of Visual Merchandising, gave pointers on Basic techniques, rotation, negative spaces and the importance of knowing the customer to attract the customer accordingly.


There were presentations by Ajay Jain (Kunzum Bookstores -India) on Time to read, Federico Lang (Librería Luces Spain) on Creating a network of global Book stores, Kritee Sharrma (SheTrade Initiative) on Breaking Barriers in Publishing. The event also had Publisher Pitches where in the book seller selected the Publisher and learnt about them.PublisHer Lounge had Meet a Mentor, Career Lab and other sessions . Lot of learnings from the two days vibrant and dynamic event curated by Emma House & Kuo-Yu Liang, Moderated by Kenny Chan and the fantastic SBA Team.

You might also like More from author

Comments are closed.