Most visitors to the Sharjah International Book Fair say the reading experience is incomplete until “you hold a book in your hand”
With their shopping carts filled with the latest titles, bibliophiles of all ages and nationalities can’t get enough of the retail therapy at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). When asked if they were prepared to swap their books for the electronic versions, many responded with a strong ânoâ.
Most said they still prefer to go to bed with a print version rather than its digital cousin. Others, however, are happy converts and have come to the book fair in search of their next batch of eBooks.
Abdulla Alyafei, a resident of Sharjah, for example, said he turned to digital book reading just for the convenience offered by the format, especially when traveling. The avid reader, who carries his tablet on his commute to work in Dubai every day, however admitted that if asked to choose between the two formats, he would never replace a real book with its digital version.
âReal books create a whole different reading experience. Plus, I like to collect books so that I can read them later, âAlyafei said.
For 13-year-old Shreya, who is a huge JK Rowling fan, âthe real book is better because it’s not just the story and its characters; the book itself is iconic, memorable and unmissable, especially when it comes to the Harry Potter series â.
It’s the hassle of charging batteries and maintaining a tech gadget that puts off Imran Mn, 14, who exclaims, “You never have to worry about a physical book running out of charge!” Imran’s favorites are Agatha Christie’s paperbacks.
Emirati Marwa Al Hammadi said she was unable to grasp the sheer literary extravagance on offer at SIBF 2021. âThis book fair has everything I’m looking for. I learn so much just by reading the blurbs on the books, âshe said.
Marwa’s vote is also for the physical book. “A reading experience is incomplete until you hold a book in your hand.”
Saud Al Kaabi, a visitor to SIBF, said that despite the heavy use of smartphones for shopping, paying bills, browsing social media and doing banking transactions, “there is still no such thing as to hold a printed book to read “.
âIt’s a great feeling that will never be a tool of the past like the typewriter. Reading books will last forever, âsaid Al Kaabi,
Salam Al Kutbi, another visitor, said the books give their readers a unique “feel”. âI can hold it, turn the pages and smell the paper. I am one of those who love to read. I want to spend my life acquiring books. It’s not easy to give up the shelves of books for electronic devices.
As this never-ending debate continues, be sure to pick up your supply of reading materials and that of your family until SIBF returns with even more variety next year. More than 15 million titles are currently on display at the fair. As the theme of this edition states, âThere is always a good book,â the one that’s right for you is waiting for you.