Abu Dhabi fair looks to increase attendance

<p>Organisers of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) are planning additional professional programmes and enticements to attract more international publishers to future fairs.</p><p>The 2010 fair opened on 2nd March and featured more than 800 exhibitors, up from 637 in 2009, which was itself an increase on 2008 figures. Publishers, authors, librarians and agents from more than 60 countries attended, compared with 53 last year.</p><p>But Kitab, the joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and Frankfurt Book Fair, said it will move towards being &quot;purely&quot; a trade fair&mdash;without members of the public being allowed to attend&mdash;once distribution throughout the Arab world has been better established. Organisers will also go to book fairs in Bologna and London to canvass opinion on what would interest international publishers.</p><p>Monika Krauss, general manager of Kitab, told The Bookseller: &quot;As long as there is no distribution of books in the Arab world, this kind of fair is extremely important for the public, because it is the only place people can buy books, and publishers can sell them. But, long term, we are moving towards a purely professional fair, once we can find a way of satisfying the public in another way.&quot;</p><p>Krauss said this would happen &quot;as quickly as possible,&quot; although she noted the fair was a traditional way of selling books, which couldn&#39;t be changed &quot;just like that&quot;.</p><p>She added: &quot;We are really very pleased that our professional programmes were well attended&mdash;that shows we are on the right track.&quot; As a result of initial discussions with international publishers, Krauss said ADIBF would probably offer more tailored programmes, such as &quot;matchmaking&quot; sessions.</p><p>The organisers will also be evaluating some of the enticements offered this year in a bid to attract foreign publishers to the event. However, subsidies, such as those received by UK publishers in a Publishers Association-coordinated collective stand, would remain.</p><p>&quot;The less we subsidise the better,&quot; said Krauss. &quot;Subsidising a stand is not that difficult, but it has to make sense. The idea behind the collective stand is that more publishers find out it is an interesting market and come back, and tell others who come.&quot;</p><p>Krauss added the organisers were considering introducing a specialist section of the fair dedicated to children&#39;s publishing.</p>