Thousands of visitors flocked to a book fair in Phnom Penh as it came to a close yesterday.
The 8th Cambodia Book Fair Exhibition was held for three days under the topic ‘Start your dream with the book in your hands’.
Klout Vibolla, director of the National Library, yesterday said that about 150,000 to 160,000 visitors came to purchase books during the three-day fair.
“We did not expect so many people to attend this year’s book fair. We estimated that this year, there would be about 80,000 visitors, but the number increased to almost double,” Ms Vibolla said, noting that there were about 130,000 visitors last year.
Yesterday, most of the visitors were students, young people and dozens of monks. Some of them walked in line and took a glance or skimmed through what they liked. The books ranged from cartoons to translated fictions, literature and history.
Ms Vibolla said that for Friday and Saturday, most visitors were students and young people, but yesterday most of them were parents and small children.
“Our book fair does not only focus on sales of books, but also focuses on activities for kids and young people. They can enjoy colouring, reading books and watching the concert as well,” she said. “We are very happy to see our young people interested in the book fair and most of them bought books.”
She said that Prime Minister Hun Sen donated 40,000 books this year.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who opened the fair on Friday, said that reading improves knowledge.
“Reading does not only improve your knowledge but it also encourages writers, researchers, and publishers to dedicate their time and energy to educate the people, nation and society,” Mr Kanharith said. “It makes me happy to see many young people interested in this book fair.”
He said that due to the influx of visitors, he will ask Mr Hun Sen for a bigger venue to attract even more authors, researchers and book lovers to the fair next year.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said that compared with the past five years, this year’s fair was more successful in promoting literacy, in line with the ministry’s goal.
“This means that the ministry is strengthening reading since the first grade and second grade, and helping students become proficient in reading to build a foundation for future reading,” Mr Naron said.
Ros Chan Vatey, a 22 year-old university student, said on Saturday at the book fair that she usually purchases books at the fair.
“I like the book fair because it is a good opportunity for me and other students or visitors to buy books, meet writers and gain more knowledge,” Ms Vatey said.