Sheikha Bodour emphasises how the publishing sector is being impacted by the environment at the Sharjah International Booksellers Conference.

Sharjah: The Sharjah International Booksellers Conference heard on Monday that the publishing industry’s impact on the environment and vice versa necessitate dramatic changes to the way books are produced.
On the first day of the two-day conference, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, the founder and CEO of Kalimat Group and the immediate past president of the International Publishers Association, called.

“One trend that needs our immediate attention is sustainability, most importantly the impact of the book industry on the environment. It is also an opportunity to raise discussions on the book industry‘s sustainability and propose initiatives that could radically change the way we produce and distribute books, while at the same time giving us the opportunity to lead this change and be part of the process. No single publisher or bookseller or stakeholder from our ecosystem can face this challenge alone, which is why collaboration is more critical now than ever,” she said during her opening keynote address.

The conference was organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), which brings together 400 booksellers and distributors from 69 countries, as well as publishers and authors from around the world. The CEO highlighted environmental pressures, material shortages, hyper-inflation of energy and other costs of business during the conference.

The first day of the conference began with Sheikha Bodour giving the keynote address, followed by an introduction from SBA Chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Markus Dohle, the former CEO of Penguin Random House, and Porter Anderson of Publishing Perspectives.

Sheikha Bodour also spoke about the emergence of generative AI and its potential to fundamentally alter the creation, distribution, and consumption of books. “I truly believe that we are at a historic moment in our industry, and through consistent collaboration, our ability to innovate and re-imagine our industry will help transform these challenges into opportunities, she said.

Al Amiri emphasised how His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, had led and directed Sharjah’s dedication to helping the book sector both locally and internationally.

“We recognise the significance of the role of booksellers and are fully aware of the main challenges hindering the development of your businesses. As such, we have organised this Booksellers Conference not only as a platform for dialogue and discussion but also as an excellent opportunity to present solutions, implement and support them, and transform successful experiences in this sector into practical lessons to learn from,” Al Amiri said.

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