Could this be the last Jerusalem International Book Fair?
The 27th Jerusalem International Book Fair (JIBF)
was not held in the Jerusalem International Conference Center.
For the first time, it was in a new location, in First Station,
where some entered from the First Station parking lot.
(In case you are wondering about the sky here,
being inside during a sandstorm was a good idea.)
While others came in through the main area,
past the First Station food mall and shopping area.
These people stopped to see the “Disappearing Wall,”
5000 small blocks of wood with German quotes written,
also in Hebrew and Arabic,
(some of which were lost in the translation) that attracted all ages.
At night the wall was an empty acrylic form,
as people were happy to remove the blocks and keep them.
Austria, Spain, Romania, Germany, Poland, Russia,
United Kingdom, Italy and United States were represented at the fair,
but it was a small fraction of former years.
One night, a crowd gathered by the German booth
for this food and wine.
Opening night of JIBF had more than one event,
that attracted large crowds.
There were lectures and programs all week, some held in
the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Mishkenot Sha’ananim
and the Khan Theatre, all auditoriums that are located near by.
As usual, not just books
but also magazines were for sale.
Authors were available to meet readers and fans,
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz–Rav Adin Even Yisrael–
was available at JIBF one night.
Besides Germany, Austria had a nice size display.
But books from the United States and some Israeli sources,
were noticeably missing.
Each time I went to JIBF,
it was great fun to see and talk with friends,
looking at books and even buying some.
But as an international book fair,
it felt like the international and book components
were sadly lacking this year.
10 thoughts on “Last Jerusalem International Book Fair?”
I’ve been going since 1971, and this was barely a shadow. Having multiple venues, entrances and exits made it impossible to get the real book fair feeling I had always loved. This was the first time I didn’t see the Jerusalem Post/Report and English Ha’aretz being marketed and distributed. I was there twice this time, and it was awful.
Thanks for confirmation, nice to hear that it was not just me disappointed. Went back a second time to see what was happening, and again saw friends, but international and books and excitement..lacking.
We went Thursday eve and HaAretz did have a booth at that time.
Haaretz had a stand on Tuesday night right by the Mall entrance. But were they English papers? I only paid attention to new Marker.. the issue that included at RJS photo.
I’m a writer and was looking to touch base with some American publishers…none of whom were there. None! Not one representative from Simon & Schuster. Nor Random House. Nor Harper Collins. Not any of the other big trade publishers, whose presence was limited to little tables at Steimatzky’s booths designed to sell some of their most popular English titles. This was hardly the venue it was supposed to be – a networking platform for publishers, lit agents and writers to meet (i.e. not just a place for the public to buy books). The size reflects changes in the publishing world where today publishers seeking to sell foreign rights interact directly by Internet. All this seems to have escaped the organizers who nevertheless had the chutzpa to demand $250 (two-hundred and fifty DOLLARS) for a list of the ‘movers and shakers’ that were said to be present (and access to behind-the-scene meeting rooms). Not only was the sum outrageous (there was no charge for the list in past years and one could leave a pitch or query letter in an envelope for a particular lit agent or publisher attending outside these ‘back rooms’). In light of the sorry state of the main hall, $250 appears to be a total rip off. Wasn’t the logic behind holding the Jerusalem Book Fair in the first place to assist Israeli publishers and Israeli authors bring their works to the attention of the world book market? Apparently no longer.
Thank you for commenting, did not know there was a fee and that it was such a high one. At least the fair itself was open to public and free, so they did not spend and loose. Sorry you were so disappointed and good luck with your publishing, it is not easy to do successfully these days.
Let me take this opportunity to invite readers of this string to laugh about Israel rather than feeling worried, disheartened, sad, angry… Check out Chelm-on-the-Med Online at http://www.chelm-on-the-med.com (and don’t miss the recently-announced annual Chelm Awards for 2014 (click on ‘The Chelm Awards’ on the main menu. Yes, of course there is a book anthology, too…of similar material spanning 1986-2007 (good not only for a laugh, such wild and wacky news stories ‘hiding’ in the Hebrew press speak volumes – in the subtext, about how Israel ticks).
I made aliyah from the US in 2012, where I was very much part of the library/books/publishing “scene.” I really enjoyed the 2013 fair, where I saw authors whose books I’d read, heard a lot of interesting discussions, and felt a certain energy in the convention center.
I went to the 2015 fair on Tuesday. I saw a few friends, but I was generally disappointed. Most of the sessions started mid-afternoon or later, and I didn’t recognize the names of any of the authors or speakers. I friend said it might be because I’ve been living in Israel, but I don’t think so. For me personally it is harder to get to First Station, and I don’t like events with multiple venues (makes it kind of likes the Olympics). I like it all in one place. I heard they were trying to attract a younger crowd by having it as the new “hip place” and having a dance party as an event. But in doing so, they took the focus off the books and the people that read them – do something to attract good OLD readers!
Thank you! I was afraid to say all this.. I now confess that I did not know names of most of the writers and speakers either. There was no shock and awe that was overwhelming at my first time going to Binyunei Hauma with so many people, so many BOOKS, and so many countries represented.
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