These are two different types of exhibitions that differ in various ways, from participants to target audience and the targeted outcomes. Both have different target purposes and their purposes have been discussed in detail.
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This is an event usually organized by books’ publishers, authors, and booksellers, targeting to market, publicize, exchange, and sell new books, classics, or any other books in general, in one event. The event is usually held in form of an exhibition. They take place in almost all countries especially in those societies that value literary art and creativity.
Book fairs started initially in the trading centers where literature merchants and the elites could exchange, buy and sell manuscripts around the 17th Century. Four centuries down the line, book fairs have developed tremendously and numerous changes can be seen, from their organization to their target audience.
Book fairs are divided into two categories, depending on their target audience. The first category is the rights fair. These target publishers especially from abroad. The booksellers and authors sell them the publishing rights to their manuscripts and the publisher and thus the publisher henceforth owns the publishing rights. These are also forums whereby they meet agents and representatives from various publishers.
Authors and booksellers through book fairs seek to meet publishers to sell publishing rights to as they also demonstrate their literary works. Selling fairs are the second category, and this deals with selling books from the stations straight to customers. Book fairs, therefore, are more inclined to commercialization of literary art.
Examples of Book Fairs
Frankfurt Book Fair
It’s one of the biggest book fairs in the world usually held at the Frankfurt Trade fair in Germany, in October. It is a books trade fair that runs for 5 days with over seven thousand exhibitors from all over the world and almost three hundred thousand visitors
London book fair
It takes place in April in London, with over twenty-three thousand publishers, writers, agents, and readers in attendance from all over the world. It also aims at selling publishing rights to publishers.
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Kolkata Book Fair
This is Asia’s biggest book fair, hosting over 2 million people from all over the world. However, unlike London and Frankfurt book fairs, the Kolkata book fair is not a trade fair. It is held from January 23rd to 26th in Kolkata.
Otherwise known as a book festival, this is a conference attended by both writers and readers (scholars) that features presentations and readings by the readers. It is a forum that portrays the writers’ and readers’ love for literature. Unlike the book fair, a literary festival does not concentrate so much on the commercial aspect in the art for example selling the books and publishing rights, but rather it emphasizes more on the love and appreciation for the literary art.
Just like book fairs, literary festivals started around the 15th century with renowned writers such as William Shakespeare playing a significant role in shaping what was in the future years to be one of the world’s highly appreciated and major literary festivals. The target audience in this case, therefore, includes writers, readers, and people with love and a passion for literature. A literary festival seeks to make the participants express their love for literature and at the same time, also acts as a forum where writers can explain controversial or difficult contents in their literary works.
Examples of Literary Festivals
International Literature Festival, Berlin
It is held in Berlin during autumn, started in 2001. It is held in about 32 different places and has a host of thirty thousand visitors from all over the world. It runs for ten days, from nine o’clock in the morning to midnight.
Karachi Literary Festival
It is among the fastest-rising literary festivals and takes place in Karachi, India. It runs for two days and with a population of about 20,000 authors, publishers, and writers in attendance. The festival takes place between February and March each year.
Edinburgh International Festival
It takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland over the August of every year. It lasts for three weeks, with over 700 events and a visiting population of twenty-five thousand visitors comprising of publishers, writers, agents, readers, etc. it was first launched in 1983.