Word on the street: Role of book fairs

February 26, 2017

Public opinion on the streets of Muscat.

Do you think events like book fairs are important to get the younger generation into encouraging reading especially in the age of technology and smartphones?

Shazia Babar, Homemaker

Events like book fairs are absolutely necessary to encourage reading among children. Such fairs offer children the opportunity to see a variety of books on various subjects and entice them to read them.

Babar Fiaz, Businessman

Book fairs should be a mandatory event across countries, especially as most children prefer a gadget to anything else. Parents should try and take children regularly to exhibitions that focus on books so that they can understand what it is to be with books.

Jyothi Patel, Private sector employee

Such events are important for children so that they can establish a connection with books. Most children prefer doing even their school work on tablets and computers. This can hamper their mental development.

Dinesh Greyshan, Medical executive

Books have always proved to be a better source of learning and creativity among children. But, book reading is slowly losing its charm in this age of technology. Events promoting book are a must as they try and keep the charm of the printed word alive.

Ahmed al Musallami, Private sector employee

It is important to have book fairs and campaigns to encourage reading among children. Nowadays, children depend on the Internet for everything which hampers their creativity and ability to think. By igniting interest in reading, we can train our children to be more creative.

Have you been to the Muscat International Book Fair? What section is more appealing to you?

Mohammed al Hajri, Retired

I visit the Muscat International Book Fair every year as I find it is the perfect opportunity for my children to select books of their choice. I am fond of books on Visual Arts.

Salim Madani, Teacher

I prefer literary and religious  books. So, I visit the fair every year to look for new books published in the field.

Mohammed al Emari, Government employee

I like books on human development and history. Visiting such fairs gives me the opportunity to add to my library at home.

Mohammed al Harsi, Teacher

Such fairs are an opportunity for people to see books from countries across the world. I like religious and historical books but my sons prefer children’s fiction.

Faisal al Harasi, Private sector employee

I have been visiting the book fair since childhood. I prefer books on sociology as they help me boost my knowledge of society.

How do you think we can promote young authors, writers in Oman?

Dr Nasser Hamad, Arbitrator and legal expert

It is necessary to provide freedom to writers and encourage them by organising more symposiums. Support can also be extended by allotting them editorial space in newspapers where they can express their thoughts.

Mattar al Breiki, Legal research

The government can encourage authors by promoting their books or writings on TV, radio, newspapers and social media. It is also important to establish more publishing houses in Oman so that more local authors can get their works published.

Yaqdhan al Shukaili, Media specialist

The best way to promote authors is by organising cultural activities where they can showcase their thoughts, books and articles. Symposiums and workshops can also help boost creative writing skills of young authors. Charitable initiatives should also be held to support writers.

Ismail al Balushi, Student

Financial support and media publicity will help authors get their due and encourage more people to take up writing. Young authors should also be encouraged to participate in international exhibitions where they can get more opportunities.

Muath al Balushi, Student

Organisations should hold competitions that will help young aspiring authors enhance their writing abilities. The Omani Society for Writers and Literati should also try and encourage more authors to come forward and get their works published. They should also promote these works on international platforms.

Do you think reading habits have declined because of technology?

Natasha Das, Banker

I don’t think that reading habits have declined because of technology but there is surely a disinterest in people to open a book and read. But, people who want to read will anyways. We have an ocean of information available online today and because of technology people are reading more content than ever. I am also part of Oprah Bookclub online.

Amina Yusra, MIS executive

I don’t believe that technology has reduced reading habits. Rather, there is a lot to read on the Internet and technology only offers a platform to access more information. Reading is a good habit that should be cultivated especially among children as it not just helps one gain knowledge but also helps improve one’s vocabulary.

Nadra al Amri, IT expert

It is a debatable topic as some individuals love reading hard copies, while others like to browse the Internet for articles, news headlines etc. Also, the amount of data available on the Internet is endless. Online reading has become the norm. Those who love reading can now opt for a Kindle version instead of carrying around heavy books.

Moidur Rahman, Station manager

I believe technology has helped man evolve further. You can easily find e-books and e-newspaper sites that give us the same information as in print. If you are well-versed with technology, you can easily switch from paper books to electronic ones.

Abhirup Roy,Sales executive

It is indeed a waste of time to invest in heavy books when one can get all the information online. It is the charm of printed books that have reduced and not reading habits.