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‘Irbid Reads’ spreads culture of reading

Almost forty thousand books available at festival

Irbid book fair
People are seen at the "Irbid Reads" book fair in this undated photo. (Photo: Batool Almasri/ Jordan News)
IRBID — The 13th"Irbid Reads" Festival started on Friday and will continue until next weekend.

The festival is part of a group of book events held in a number of governorates periodically, in which tens of thousands of books are presented at reasonable prices and within the reach of citizens, with the aim of spreading culture and a love of reading among the Jordanian public.اضافة اعلان

The event is organized and run by Shadi Abu Nasser, the owner of the most famous book booth in the city of Irbid, known as "Shadi Cultural booth.”

In an interview with Jordan News, Abu Nasser said, "This festival is the main one among a series of such events that is being held in a number of governorates of Jordan, and its aim is to reflect the cultural image of the people of Irbid in particular, and Jordan in general.”

As for this year, the festival was held after a break due to what we have gone through during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why the exhibition is very popular throughout the day until midnight.”

Discussing the festival's content, Abu Nasser said, “We offer nearly forty thousand different books.

This number includes books in literature, history, science, and many more (subjects). We also offer books in different languages. It is not just about books, there is a special section where we offer a wide range of book marks, and another section for learning aids.”

"Since the reader is the mirror of the author, we were keen to host a group of famous authors, and new ones in order to support them and support their works, and to create a bridge of communication between the reader and writer,” said the book vendor.

“This encourages people to attend and get to know their favorite writers closely, and allows them to the opportunity to see what other and new writers are offering in particular. Among the authors who attended yesterday were Ayman Al-Atoum, Areej Al-Khasawneh, Maryam Al-Awrat, and Issa Al-Khalidi.”

Abu Nasser made an effort to make the festival’s prices accessible to all, especially during the difficult economic conditions caused by the pandemic.

“We take into account the financial hardship that Jordanian citizens are going through, which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so we made sure that the prices were suitable for all groups,” he said. “And we provided a large number of used books in good and excellent condition for the purpose of reducing prices, and enabling individuals to obtain everything they need without worrying about what they will pay."

"This plan was very successful, as we found a great demand, and [customers] were satisfied with the prices, and we did not receive any complaints about this matter.”

The festival faced its own financial challenges before it came to fruition. "We do not receive any support from any governmental or private entity,” said the organizer. “Thus, the financial costs on us are very large, as the rent of the event hall reaches JD1,200, and if we add the other expenses of shipping, staff, marketing and advertising, then the total amount is up to JD3,000 per week.”

A visitor, Maryam Al-Shayyab, said: "The most beautiful thing about this festival is that it is not directed to one group, as I come here to buy books that suit my interests, and then look for books for my children. Children's books here are very diverse, and their purposes are entertainment and educational, so I do not hesitate to offer my children any book from here, as I am sure of their content.”

Another, Qassem Al-Hatim, said, "I find it very difficult to buy books, as their prices often do not suit me. But here you can find a large number of used books, which are often at simple prices, and their condition is very good.
“Even new books can be found at reasonable prices, but this does not apply to all books, of course.”