Monday, March 11, 2013

Islamic Book Fair 2013

Last night was the closing ceremony of Islamic Book Fair 2013, the most prestigious book exhibition in Jakarta I thought, if we cannot say in Indonesia or even in South East Asian. The book fair was so popular that many large buses came from all over the surrounding areas of Jakarta, from the very first opening day until the last day, bringing so many people, both old and young, including primary schools students and tiny kindergarten kids. What a fantastic view! This was one of the differences between Islamic Book Fair and the other book exhibitions held in Jakarta.

Another Islamic Book Fair’s greatness was the visiting of foreign publishing houses` representatives. I remember in the opening day I saw a bunch of foreigners. They were sightseeing between a publishing house’s stand to another, speaking a strange language which I presumed Turkish and dragging some luggage. On the last day I visited the book fair, I saw a couple of men looked like Indians, one of them was very tall, still dragging big luggage, which later I found out that they were Malaysians.

I also remember when eleven Malay people from one of Malaysian book publishers came and visited our publishing house in the third or fourth day of the Islamic Book Fair. They came intentionally to our headquarter after their visit to our stand during the book fair. They seemed curious of what makes Indonesian world of books so lively and high-graded, especially after they had seen the Islamic books phenomenon here with their very own eyes.

Not only adults like me, small children and young students showed the same enthusiasm in searching and buying books through this wonderful exhibition. I still clearly remember how a pack of primary students crowded a publishing house’s stand and bought many Arabic books, of course with their giggles and cheerful chats. Can you imagine what did it like to be among them in a long queue? Nevertheless,  I was happy to see their passion in books, but I wondered if they could even read them.

In my first visit during the opening ceremony, I bought "The Choice" witten by Ahmad Deedat (the original English version) at IDR 62,000. Very very very cheap for such a valuable book. It was truly a bargain.

This 12th Islamic Book Fair was definitely crowded with people. Especially in the last three days of exhibition. It was really a tiring journey through the ocean of book lovers, but it was indeed worth doing. However, I hope they hold the book fair better next year, especially in managing the praying and ablution areas.