Kazakhstan, Colombia, Argentina, Malaysia, Dominican Republic, South Africa, UAE, Guinea Conakry and many more… Millions of book lovers are descending on global book fairs this week. And that’s nothing unusual

In Argentina today the Buenos Aries International Book Fair kicks off. It runs from April 26 through May 14, and 1.2 million visitors are expected.

At the other end of the scale, a smaller but no less significant book event is underway in South Africa. The Rutanang Book Festival runs April 26-28.

Although it started back on April 7 the Casablanca National Book Fair is still going strong in Morocco, and won’t wind up until April 30. The National Book Fair is not to be confused with the Casablanca International Book Fair from earlier this year, which regularly gets 350,000 visitors.

Also happening right now is the Bogota International Book Fair in Colombia, which began on April 17 and runs through May 2. Last year 550,000 visitors attended.

At which point you will be thinking, “Hold on. 550,00 attending a book fair in Colombia? 1.2 million in Buenos Aries? Just this week? But wasn’t Mike Shatzkin just telling us what a waste of space the Spanish-speaking markets are?”

Well actually no, he didn’t quite say that, but his view was that Spanish-language markets aren’t that exciting, and that’s something I’ll come back to here at TNPS shortly, when I take a closer look at Mike Shatzkin’s argument.

Meanwhile over in the United Arab Emirates since April 18 the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival has been live and it doesn’t end until April 28. The Dubai event attracted 306,000 last year.

Another book festival happening right now is the Santo Domingo International Book Fair in the Dominican Republic. It runs April 19 through 30.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Apr 25-28 Eurasian Book Fair in Astana, Kazakhstan. This is a more trade-focussed event but still managed to draw crowds of 28,000. That’s more than the London Book Fair managed earlier this month.

Oh, and there’s the Guinea Conakry 72 Heures du Livre 2018, which is happening, yes, you guessed it, right now. In fact from Apr 23 through 29.

Oh, and also right now is the Geneva Book and Press Fair in Switzerland. Last year the event attracted a crowd of 94,000. The event runs April 25-29.

And of course it would be totally remiss of me not to mention the on-going Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which started yesterday, April 25, and will run through to May 1. Some 300,000 visitors are expected.

And yes, that’s along with the 306,000 attending the aforementioned Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, also in the United Arab Emirates.

Yeah, the Arab book market is just such a waste of time. If we ignore the Abu Dhabi IBF and the Sharjah CRF and the Casablanca NBF. And that’s just what’s happening this week.

Earlier this year we had, among many, the Cairo IBF in Egypt (well over 2.5 million visitors), the Muscat IBF in Oman (850,000), the Riyadh IBF in Saudi Arabia (c. 375,000), the Saudi Comic Con (25,000), the Tunis IBF in Tunisia, the Alexandria IBF in Egypt (60,000), and the aforementioned Casablanca IBF (350,000 typically).

Later this year we have yet more million-busting events. The Algiers IBF in, unsurprisingly, Algeria, attracted 1.7 million last year. And the Sharjah IBF (yes, another Sharjah UAE book fair) pulled in 2.39 million visitors in 2017.

It’s just so lucky for us that we all know Arabs don’t read, otherwise we’d have to start thinking about taking the Arab markets seriously, and that would never do.

But never mind later in the year, let’s get back to the here and now, where it’s bad news if you want the easy life believing there are only two book markets in town,

Because on top of the aforementioned book fairs, the Hanoi Book Festival in Vietnam finished just two days ago on April 24.

Yesterday, April 25, the Sarajevo International Book Fair wound up in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Tomorrow, April 27, the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair kicks off in Malaysia. The KLIBF has had more than 2 million visitors every year since 2013.

To take us through a full week from today, we have the Thessalonika International Book Fair starting May 3 in Greece. At least 85,000 are expected.

And to round off this snapshot of the global book fair scene, from May 2 through 12 the Tehran International Book Fair will be taking place in Iran.

Again, a nation of non-readers, as we all know, so what the two million visitors will be doing at the Tehran IBF is anyone’s guess.

Last year the Iranians spent a measly $38 million on books during the eleven day event.

Yep, the global book markets are such a waste of time.

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