The 10th Cambodia Book Fair is set to unfold as a much-anticipated annual socio-cultural event at the National Library, organised by the Cambodia Book Fair Committee in partnership with various government ministries and associations, according to literacy NGO Sipar. 

With an estimated 180,000 attendees expected, the fair aims to promote literature, encourage reading habits and support the country’s burgeoning publishing industry. 

Khlot Vibolla, director of the National Library and deputy-director of the Department of Books and Reading under the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, explained during a December 6 press conference that this year’s expo is scheduled for December 14-17.

“This year, the number of exhibitors will increase. The reason for the increase is due to the National Library being a member of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system,” she said.

According to Vibolla, the library became an ISBN member in 2015 and there are nearly 2,000 authors in the country.

Lundi Sannara, secretary of state at the culture ministry, stated the fair was designed promote the publication of all kinds of books for the domestic and international market.

She added that the event also aims to encourage Cambodians to develop the habit of reading books and send a message to young people about the value of reading.

“It will also support the publishing industry in Cambodia and worldwide, as well as encourage Cambodian poets, writers, researchers and artists to create more new works,” she added.

Hok Sothik, director of Sipar, emphasised that to establish reading habits, one must first enjoy it. He described the fair as a mechanism to introduce reading to the public from all walks of life.

“Most young people come to buy books during the book fair ... They are not interested in books about law, politics and history … We want to change our people’s mindset,” he said.

According to the NGO, books at the expo will be available at special prices, and there will be forums on electronic publishing, presentations related to Khmer literature and science, insights from well-known authors, autograph sessions with authors and artists, story reading sessions and concerts.

More than 520,000 participants attended the nine Cambodia book fairs from 2011-2022, as reported by the ministry’s book department.