While listings in the media might help shortlist potential book titles, it’s vital for readers to take the time to discover what interests them
Sharjah, November 13, 2022
A panel discussion hosted at the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has discussed the ‘Bestseller Books Phenomenon’, outlining how, from time immemorial, people have wanted their creativity to reach a wider audience.
“It is said that poets used to send their words through the wind during pre-Islamic times. Wanting to make one’s book a bestseller is also about fame. It’s not a new concept, it’s something that has always existed,” said writer Dr. Salahuddin Al Hammadi, at the session moderated by Sheikha Al Muthairi.
He added: “In the contemporary world, publishers face several challenges in their efforts to ‘spread the word’. We must always remember that publishers are not cultural carriers; they are business professionals who act as cultural messengers.”
Speaking at the session, bestselling Italian author Fabio Volo said: “I buried myself in books as a teenager, primarily because I didn’t want to be left behind since I had stopped going to school and was helping my dad at work. Much later, I realised that I was a voracious reader and was better informed on books than most of my friends attending university.”
He continued: “During that time I broke my leg in a motorcycle accident and was in bed for over a month. I edited all the notes I had kept while reading for the past 15 years and the publishers told me to write a second book. I’ve been blessed to have books that sell without having to chase publishers. My approach to work is to write when I have the urge to say something and make my heart feel content.”
Most readers are influenced by their peer group or salespeople when it comes to buying books, said Emirati writer and journalist Aisha Sultan. “It’s high time we don’t give into the pull of our friends or family when it comes to buying books. We should cater to our personal orientation to find subjects that truly resonate with ourselves,” she said.