Beijing International Book Fair 2014

I’m thrilled to be able to visit my first International Book Fair, Beijing International Book Fair 2014 (BIBF 2014) to represent NulisBuku.com with the winners of Tulis Nusantara 2014 writing competition (Ruwi from Ponorogo, Gege from Makassar & Rijal from Aceh) and Officials from the Ministry of Travel and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia. Surely, China, a country that published nearly 8 billion books and 255,000 new titles a year, is an important region to watch.

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We skipped the Great Wall of China and went directly to New China International Exhibition Center (NCIEC) around an hour from city center. BIBF 2014 was consist of 2 huge blocks of China publishers and International publishers exhibitors.

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Because I don’t speak Chinese and I didn’t want to risk getting lost, I asked Ruwi to come with me and together we explored places that excite us the most.

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We started it at the China publishers and digital publishing center. My first impression was, this event is as grand as any electronic exhibition in Indonesia. They’ve been all out in creating their huge stands in creative ways. And the people are equally excited with the event! Even when not a single one of the exhibitors selling their books. They create activities like book talkshow, book launch, children drawing, even singing. There are also free calligraphy making in Saudi Arabia stand, they gathered some crowd in there!

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People are also enthusiastically using other forms of technology to read. Speaking of technology, I can’t access Facebook, Twitter and Google services when I was in Beijing. And when you took those 3, I have nothing left to do on the internet, seriously. All the apps I’ve installed mean absolutely nothing LOL.

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 Anyway, at BIBF 2014, we can see Line Webtoon and Kindle stands. Also many publishers from China and the world doing specific books, from books about Oil, Medical books to books about Library management. I honestly didn’t know the vast and ever growing global book market shown by the various stands of book fair around the world from Sharjah International Book Fair, Tehran International Book Fair to London Book Fair. And there’s Turkey as guest of honor!

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Unfortunately, Indonesia has no representative in BIBF 2014. Surely not because we’re lack of people, but we’re lack of enthusiasm in literature world. Every year, our own National Book Fair not showing progress in terms of excitement from either book lovers or people in general. Even with 24,000 new book titles a year, my friends already said there are too many books at the bookstore. Well, we barely there yet.

Of course I’m optimistic that we will grow the number of book lovers and the excitement to read and write from the people in our own country. The young people’s idols now are writing books or even writer themselves. We need more role models to infuse the reading and writing habit in their every day life without disrupting their current rooting for social media.

How? We all can answer it, it’s our job to help our nation become a better place to live.

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