With the largest attendance in its history, the curtain fell on Sunday, May 7th, 2023,for the 19th International Book Fair of Thessaloniki, which attracted approximately 90,000 visitors in a four-day period with numerous presentations and discussions as well as important events and contacts in the 1st International Professional Program, for which theintention is to strengthen even more.
“The universal embrace that the city offered with its unequivocal participation” and the international professional part of the 19th TIBF are, after all, according to the president of the Hellenic Foundationfor Culture, Nikos A. Koukis, two of its most important elements. “We want to make the Exhibition not only a big store for publishing production, with a rich cultural program at the same time, but also to give it some other dimensions, such as the one with the international professional program”, he noted, calling on the publishers to take advantage of this opportunity that is offered to them, but also declaring that he is open to suggestions that could further strengthen the dynamics of the TIBF.
The big bet of this year’s event was attendance numbers since the previousTIBF took place in the midst of a pandemic, in November 2021, without managing to attract the desired participation due to the prevailing situation and the measures that had been taken to deal with it. However, as Mr. Koukis clarified, “we did not want to cancel the Exhibition because we are also referring to the city”.
“Intellectual and cultural forum of Greece” TBF, the “key” is good cooperation.
For the president of HFC, TIBF is the “intellectual and cultural forum of Greece”, an understanding he attributed to the “huge intellectual potential that exists in our country”, as this was reflected in this year’s event and he himself had the opportunity to observepersonally watching many of the discussions.
Mr. Koukis underlined the importance of cooperation and team bonding for the success of an event. “Our team did well, while we also brought in new executives who played a pivotal role in this effort,” he said and thanked both the Foundation’s executives, such as the TBF coordinator Ms. Nopi Chatzigeorgiou, as well as the supporters of the entire project. “Despite the fact that we are few, we did very well” he added.
Digital transformation, BIBLIONET and Reading Clubs
Mr. Koukis also referred to the issue of the digital transformation of BIBLIONET, the bibliographic database, which records Greek publishing production and the utilization of which is available free of charge from the HFC, pointing out that it is being completely reconstructed, with a funding of 500,000 euros from the Digital GovernanceFund. “The tender is over and there is a contractor to work on it, which is one of the biggest reforms we have made,” he pointed out.
“Through this database, in fact, it will be possible for the Reading Clubs, which this year had a special presence at the TIBF with many events and discussions, to work through an electronic system, where they will be able to post their activities and network as they wish.”
“I attach great importance to Reading Clubs. As a philologist, I really love reading and I think that if children don’t want to read or are cut off from reading, then there is a problem in general”, Mr. Koukis noted, with Ms. Chatzigeorgiou pointing out that a large annual meeting of the of Reading Clubs within the context of TIBF will be established presently.