Cambodia Book Fair Promotes Reading Culture

Cambodia Book Fair returns for its ninth outing, with the aim of boosting reading culture throughout the nation
Cambodia Book Fair is set to return after a two year hiatus due to Covid-19. Kiripost via Book Fair Facebook page
Cambodia Book Fair is set to return after a two year hiatus due to Covid-19. Kiripost via Book Fair Facebook page

Cambodia Book Fair is going to celebrate once again with a three-day event after a two year hiatus due to Covid-19.

This year the Cambodia Book Fair will take place from December 9 to 11 at the National Library of Cambodia.

In 2022, the Committee of the Book Fair of Cambodia has unanimously agreed to celebrate the National Book Fair 9th, under the theme "One day read, one day know", in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MoEYs), as well as many related organizations, and has large sponsorship from Tiger Balm.

Kim Pin,​ Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, stated that the purposes of celebrating the Cambodia Book Fair is to advertise and promote the publishing of all kinds of books, especially to boost the books’ market in Cambodia, promote reading culture, spread more awareness and value of reading books to Cambodian youths, encourage children to love reading from an early age, support collaboration for publishing in Cambodia and around the world, and to encourage poets, writers and artists to create more new works.

There will be 197 book stalls, 10 sponsorships, and seven main activities during the event: book exhibitions from different book institutions and libraries in Cambodia with special discount prices, a forum on “Book Publishing on Digital Platform”, presentation of Khmer Literature and Science, turning a book into a movie, developing reading skills following the stages of life, meet famous authors, reading stories, playing games for kids and a concert with a Q&A lucky draw.

It should be noted that in 2019's Cambodia Book Fair 8, there were a total of 180,000 visitors joining the event, with 145 book stalls over the three days.

Hok Sothy, President of the Cambodian Association of Librarians and Documentarian and Director of Sipar, said during the 9th Cambodia Book Fair press conference that the sort of personal-development books, novels and historical books have been sold the most among the other types of books during the fair events.

“I think the best selling type of books during the exhibition event are the [type] books that are related to personal development and novel books. Personal-Development books, for example, the books that guide [readers] about how to pass exams, how to become a manager, how to become a leader, how to become a rich person, etc. And for the novel, it has been divided into two types such as traditional novels like Mea Lea Doung Chet book including all novels that have been included in curriculum in highschool and secondary still continuous selling in the market,” said Sothy.

He added, “Furthermore, the novel that has been written by youths nowadays that describe their life journey experiences is considered as a top two famous book type. And historical books are another type of book that is popular [as the top three favorable types of books among readers].”

He believes the reasons that Cambodian young people prefer to read only novels, personal-development and historical books rather than political, social, law and other different types of books is because youths regard reading as part of entertainment rather than taking it seriously.

He mentioned that even though the Cambodia Book Fair was celebrated in 2019 with a huge number of participants who came to buy books, the number of people who like to read books in Cambodia is still lower than neighboring countries, such as Vietnam and Thailand.

Reading is very beneficial for students as it helps them to obtain more knowledge and develop a reading habit. However, in Cambodia, many students do not have much interest in reading; most tend to read only when it is required by their teachers.

To promote reading culture, the Cambodian government has introduced some initiatives, including the Cambodia Book Fair and creating more libraries following the schools to encourage young Cambodian people to engage in more reading.