SIMLA YERLIKAYA - KUZEY NEWS AGENCY
The 9th Arbil Book Fair, the largest event in its kind organized in the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government of northern Iraq, has been transformed from a local event to an international one as it draws attention not only from the region but also different parts of the world. More than 250 publishing houses from 14 countries have attended the book fair which will last for ten days.
Expected by book worms in the Kurdish capital with growing excitement, the book fair was opened by KRG leader Masoud Barzani, who stressed the increase in the number of companies attending the fair in every year. Underlining the relatively free intellectual atmosphere in northern Iraq, Barzani stated there is no censorship or limitation in the book fair.
Among the publishing houses participating in the fair, Arab companies are the largest group. The large number of publishing companies from Lebanon is interesting.
While companies showed interest in having booths in the fair, the readers are not so much keen on visiting the event. Publishers relate the decrease in the number of visitors to the decline in economic conditions which was mainly caused by the budget crises between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish administration.
Oneof the companies, the Mukiryani Publishing House, presented 216 different books in a wide spectrum ranging from politics to child books. Explaining that their aim is to attract readers for a lower price, one official from the company said "To some extent, this is a social responsibility. Especially this year, we need this kind of sacrifices since we face a budget crisis. This definitely reflects on consumers. Kurds love reading but we have some financial problems."
Despite many problems, readers with a more comfortable financial situation in Arbil are happy to buy books. A reader expressed his pleasure saying "The book fair in Arbil is very precious for me. The kinds of books presented here are of a wide range. More importantly, the prices are less than the book stores. You are better off when you are buying books for ten days. For us, the price is very important. The lower prices the more readers."
Two publishing houses, Deng and Semerkand, attended the book fair from Turkey. During the ten days, various cultural activities and symposiums will also be conducted.
Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2014, 16:25