The Limassol Book Fair comes to fill the gaps in the Cypriot book market, its organisers tell CNA

The Limassol Book Fair comes to fill the gaps in the Cypriot book market, its organisers, Haris Ioannides, Anna Ioannidou and Christos Michalaros, have told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

Asked about his participation in the project, journalist Christos Michalaros tells CNA that initially the proposal he had received from the organisers was to present the three-day event on stage. “However, along the way and with the resulting discussions, we all found that books concern us in a more general context,” he said adding that the love for books and their world that we have within us is shared with the love other readers feel.

“So I decided to get involved even to a small degree in the coordination of the discussions, the live interviews on stage and other actions, so that the message that Cyprus now has a book fair which is indicative of its potential is a fact,” says Michalaros, who expresses his gratitude to the organisers who included him in this project.

On her part, replying to a question about the main differences between the first Limassol Book Fair and the book fairs that take place in Cyprus from time to time, Anna Ioannidou explains that the main difference of the Limassol Book Fair is the organisation of the professional conference on November 25.

“There, the challenges and opportunities of the Cypriot book market will be discussed as well as its connection with the international book market,” she points out, adding that the conference will be addressed by international advisers on book matters, representatives of the Frankfurt and Thessaloniki International Fairs, publishers and booksellers from Cyprus but also publishers from Greece.

Speaking about the most important gap that exists in the Cypriot book market and the ways in which it can be filled, publisher Haris Ioannides emphasises that “the Cypriot book market will always live under the long shadow of the Greek book industry, which is much larger, richer in titles and subject matter, but also clearly more mature than ours.”

“Over time, the local book industry has adapted to this reality and all of us, publishers, booksellers, authors, are fully aware of this framework,” he adds.

Referring to the objectives set by the Limassol Book Fair, Haris Ioannides says that there is a desire, through the professional conferences, for the gradual upgrading and strengthening of Cypriot book production, the interconnection of our product with the world on an expanded and organised level, as well as for the creation of networking opportunities between publishers at local, regional, European and global levels.

When asked how Cyprus can gain a place in the international book market, Haris Ioannides and Anna Ioannidou note that “we need to start a long-term action, with small but steady steps, which will gradually bring us to the desired point where Cypriot literature and book production will be available to the book-loving public of the world, and in the major languages of the planet.”

“As organisers of the Fair, we first want to see the local industry strengthen and gain the prestige it deserves,” they underline. “At the same time, through international conferences and other similar activities, we want to act as a bridge of communication between the various stakeholders of the book industry in Cyprus, but mainly in the wider eastern Mediterranean,” they note, pointing out that “Cyprus’ participation in the major foreign exhibitions should be continuous and should be aimed at gaining expertise and networking.”

Referring to the relationship of Cypriots with books and reading, Michalaros points out that “Cypriots, like mainland Greeks, talk more than they listen or read. Reading does not exist in our overall culture as an essential component of our consciousness.”

“The Limassol Book Fair gives a thousand reasons for the State to invest in publishing books and in reading. Those of you who come will find out. You will leave with an armful of books each,” he concludes.

The first Limassol Book Fair will be held on the weekend of November 26 and 27, between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. It will be preceded by the professional conference on November 25.

Source: Cyprus News Agency