Held annually by The Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT), the much-anticipated Bangkok International Book Fair made a return at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (March 26-April 6).
In the last few years, the big, jam-packed book week has been setting new attendance records. The appetite of Thais for books can be clearly seen here and one can easily notice waves of people flooding in to browse for new books. Thai book lovers expressed great joy in buying straight from publishers, meeting with authors, and getting signed copies at the fair.
The book expo welcomed over 2.6m in 2013, 2.8m in 2014 out of the country’s total population of 65 million. According Siripong Widhayawirot, a former editor at publishing house Matichon, the sales number at the fair dropped 20-30% in 2014 and this decline was attributed partly to economic woes. According to the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT), 88% of the Thai population spends in average 28 minutes a day reading and 40% say they don’t read books at all and the primary reason is lack of time.
Bangkok was chosen as World Book Capital in 2013 by UNESCO in effort to promote reading. A lot of billboards and activities were used and officials emphasized on giving away free books, promoting commute reading, free reading workshops for children, and a big book alms-giving event.