The Zimbabwe International
Book Fair 1997
Grace Mutandwa is Media Liaison Officer, ZIBF.
The Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) in
1997 broke all records in deals struck and attendance. The fair, which
ran from 5 to 9 August, saw deals worth more than Z$3m concluded. More
than 270 direct exhibitors and approximately 300 trade and professional
visitors from 53 countries took part in the fair.
Dubbed the most important publishing event in
sub-Saharan Africa, the fair drew a record attendance from the African
publishing industry. With Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya,
Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South
Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia represented, it
was the strongest assembly of the African book industry world-wide.
South-South co-operation, which is a major focus
of ZIBF's organisers, was brought to force with publishers and trade
visitors from Belize, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad,
India, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
ZIBF's major highlight of pre-book fair events,
the Indaba, also witnessed an overwhelming attendance with almost 400
registered delegates (a four-fold increase over last year's attendance).
Most delegates attributed the high attendance to this year's theme:
`Access to Information'. The Indaba was opened with a scene-setter address
from leading Zimbabwean writer, Yvonne Vera, who spoke about the communication
rights and needs of children. The meeting then broke into four interest
groups: national book policy, scholarship and research, information
technology and community access to information. According to some of
the delegates, they found the two-day Indaba rewarding, interesting
and stimulating. It also set the scene for a lively book fair week.
The overall theme for this year's book fair was `Libraries'.
The Indaba was followed by what has become ZIBF's
major draw-card, the traders' days. Although most exhibitors expressed
satisfaction with the business they had done, there were calls for a
longer trading period. `But', noted François McHardy, Director of the
Witwatersrand University Press, `ZIBF is not only about buying and selling
rights, it is our most important networking event.'
This year's fair also witnessed the launching
of the Pan African Booksellers Association (PABA), a grouping of associations
and booksellers from 16 African countries. PABA will promote viable
book industries, establish training schemes, standardise ordering procedures
and look into supplier relationships and discounts. It will also investigate
unfair competition from publishers, wholesalers and their agencies,
rationalise customers' trade discounts, examine the issues of government
taxes, duties and levies and affiliate to trade associations.
And for the second year running, ZIBF hosted a
marketing workshop described as a resounding success and the most real
thing in bringing publishing alive.
Meanwhile most exhibitors have confirmed their
bookings for 1998 and more are also pouring in from new exhibitors.
ZIBF98's theme of `Children' has already sparked tremendous interest
in publishers in Africa as well as in the developed world. Running from
1 to 8 August, the fair will have more traders' days following continued
requests from trade visitors for more trading time. Next year will also
see the introduction of a theme and focus on a particular country. To
tie up with ZIBF98's theme `Children', the fair organisers will dedicate
the central pavilion to the Kenya Children's Book Fair.
Further information on the Zimbabwe International
Book Fair is available for readers in Europe, North America and the
Caribbean, from Southern African Book Development Education Trust (SABDET),
Margaret Ling, Hon Secretary, SABDET, 25 Endymion Road, London N4 1EE,
England. Tel +44 181 348 8463; fax +44 181 348 4403; e-mail: email@example.com.
Readers in Africa and the rest of the world contact: ZIBF, PO Box CY1179
Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe. Tel +263-4-702104/ 702108; fax +263-4-702129
[end] [BPN, no 21, 1997, p 7.]
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