Indonesian International Book Fair 2015

Indonesia International Book Fair (2-6 September 2015) has just wrapped up their show last week. Despite disappointments expressed by many foreign participants on the small number of local and international publishers attended the book fair, there is a high hope that this book fair will grow into one of the most important event for book and content industry  in Asia.

Indonesia rights fair, better place but not better business, yet

“This book fair is one that has potential to develop into an important one for the region, among all book fairs that you have in Indonesia. There is no question about going back to the old venue which is dark and dirty,” said Claudia Kaiser, Vice President of Frankfurt Book Fair for Asia, who closely studied Indonesian book publishing business for the last two years.

“Less crowd this year, less number of booth. I can hardly find any English publishers, can hardly say this is an international book fair” complained Tahir Akhtar, regular visitor from Pakistan, who buy rights from some Indonesian children book publishers during the fair. “This is the smallest international book fair I have ever attended,” he added.

This is  just the second time for Indonesia to have an international book fair. Last year it was held in Indoor Tennis Court of Istora Senayan, with Saudi Arabia as the Guest of Honour. The place is undeniably shabby for an international book fair. Dark, dirty and noisy. But, probably because of the guest of honor country, it attracted a huge number of visitor every day.   Saudi Arabia held a daily give away contest for visitors to hajj pilgrim invitation from the Kingdom, announced every afternoon before closing.

This year the Guest of Honour country is Korea. The venue is moved to Jakarta Convention Center which is bigger, cleaner and more modern.  Consequently, the booth rent is set higher and not many publisher can afford to participate. The hall used for the fair this year is smaller, however clean, bright, and comfortable. Number of booth is only 93, with two stages for various event set too close to rights fair area, that sometime it is very noisy and difficult to listen to each other talk during meetings.

Korean booth as Guest of Honor attracted many K-fans

Main office of Indonesian Publishers Association (IKAPI Pusat), the organizer of this annual book fair, should be expected to work harder for the next year’s event, if they don’t want to loose the chance. First, they need to attract more participants: lower the rent or secure government subsidies for smaller publishers. Second, attract more professional visitors by organizing publishing seminar, conference or workshop during the book fair, so more publishing people will come and they will have a chance to upgrade human resources capability here.

IKAPI needs to invite participation from many stake-holder in the industry, including book stores, ebook reader and apps developer, web toon comic and content maker which does not relate directly with books. But more importantly, IKAPI should know exactly what they want to do. Singapore has had annual event which focuses on content for children, and has already develop into a hub for the region’s content developer society. Malaysia has had copyrights trade center which begin to gain stronger ground.

Better venue, but not better business. Better vision is indeed in need.[]


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