Organizers say the Arab world’s largest book fair lured more than half a million visitors on its opening weekend — but with publishing houses already struggling to cover the rising cost of printing, many fear this won’t translate to sales.

To incentivize readers, Egypt’s publisher association has encouraged sellers to give readers the option of buying books in installments through popular buy-now-pay-later services. Publishing houses also banked on different strategies.

“Many of the exhibiting publishers offer discounts. For example, if you buy five or ten books, you get big discounts. Of course, not many can afford to buy ten books, so usually, friends decide to buy books from the same place, to get them discounted,” a volunteer and engineering student revealed.

If the price of new books increased by up to double, in a corner of the fair, vendors from Cairo’s iconic Azbakeya second-hand book market appear unphased by the economic downturn.

With most volumes going for under 20 pounds or about less than one dollar, buying used books or pirated prints from Azbakeya has become a necessity for some.

They will run through February 6.

According to africanews