By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: Hundreds of booklovers continued to flock to the Kuwait International Book Fair that opened on Nov 16 at Kuwait International Fairgrounds. Kuwait Times visited the book fair and asked people about their reading preferences and how they choose the subjects of their books.

Haya Al-Sulaibi

Haya Al-Sulaibi, 21, said due to the types of books she used to read previously, such as science fiction, it led her to not like reading. However, when she started reading self-development books, she found herself enjoying it and was encouraged to read more books. “I started spending around KD 20 on books every month, since I found it is more interesting to learn new information and get more knowledge that improves my skills. That’s why I prefer reading self-development books more than novels or science fiction. I wanted to learn on my own, not by reading about other people’s lives,” she said.

Sulaibi said reading e-books distracts her due to notifications that appear on the devices. She said paper books have their own pleasure, adding her generation mostly prefers not to read and watch movies instead.

Mustafa Al-Jebali

Mustafa Al-Jebali said he prefers to read books in the field of human development, in addition to history books. “The book fair is full of books in all fields, but prices are very high, which is affecting visitors’ choices,” he said, adding most visitors expected prices would be cheaper due to competition between publishing houses, but found prices of books are very high.“ Choosing books depends on readers’ ages as well. For example, the new generation mostly prefers novels, especially fiction, while older generations prefer more realistic books and novels,” Jebali said.

Writer Bothayna Al-Essa

Writer Bothayna Al-Essa said people’s preferences have changed to be more toward nonfiction, autobiography, and books on sociology, history and philosophy while novels and books on humanities come second. “Despite technological developments in e-books, people still prefer paper books, although demand for audiobooks has increased as well,” she said. “The information sources have changed, therefore the new generation have changed their way of getting information. One of the alternatives for them are podcasts, which is a great way to benefit from others’ experiences,” she said.

Writer Asmaa Al-Awadi

Writer Asmaa Al-Awadi had another opinion on book fairs in Kuwait, as she thinks most people visiting book fairs are coming to while away their time, as they are not interested in reading books like before, as the pandemic made people more isolated and attached to online shows and movies. “Many people don’t want to exert efforts and spend time reading, as movies attract them,” she said. “There is nothing wrong with watching movies, except that it shouldn’t be in place of books. Personally, I started to shift my writings to series due to the high demand for them, especially among the new generation.”

Writer Basil Al-Zeer

Writer Basil Al-Zeer said people are still hungry to read, so demand for books is still high. “The only problem with choosing the topics among people is that they follow trends, whether the book is good or not,” he said. He said there are a great number of books in the market, but their purpose is marketing and earning profits and not provide knowledge or information to readers. “We should have more control and supervision on the content of books, as it will affect the tastes of readers, especially the new generation,” he added.