Book Fair Trip 101: How to survive a book fair

By Amni Azizan

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” – J.K. Rowling

In light of the 40th Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair 2023 (KLIBF 2023) currently happening at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) from the 26th of May up to the 4th of June 2023, I think this is a good time to share some helpful tips for book lovers out there to grasp the book fair experience to the fullest, especially a significant book fair that only comes annually like KLIBF 2023.

Do your research
You are burying your own grave if you even think for one second that you could go there blind, without any plans whatsoever. You could be easily overwhelmed when you realize that there are books and more books at every turn you make. So, you need to go to their official website or social media account to make sure that you’re up to speed. Plus, most publishers will share the details so visitors can find them in a flash.

Plan the date and time you want to go

Depending on your schedule, you should plan the date to visit the fair and the appropriate time to go. Most people will go during the weekends because they have no school or work commitments. Despite that, you have to be prepared for the sea of people you are going to encounter when you arrive at the book fair, considering it is currently a school holiday and people will not hesitate to grab this golden opportunity. Or, if you could, you can also go on a weekday if your schedule is wide open by that time. Plus, I recommend you go early in the morning (like 10 am or so) as it will give you sufficient time to explore all booths at the book fair.

Set your budget

Set aside some money to buy books that you plan to buy. Make sure you already have money in your wallet before going to the book fair. Trust me. Or else you will have to make a run to the nearest ATM when you could have found your books and paid for them earlier. However, there is another option by using QR codes in this time and age. So, you either have enough cash in hand or Internet access to scan the QR codes when you make your payment. Setting a budget is also vital to avoid spending penny that you have in your bank account. Thus, plan your budget accordingly or you will regret it later.

Dress comfortably

You need to bear in mind that you are going to a book fair, not a fashion runway. With that in mind, wear the most comfortable clothes you own in your wardrobe that enables you to walk for hours. Besides, wearing comfortable clothes can improve your mood so that you can focus on finding your desired books and less distraction for you on that day so that you could achieve your objective of the day (make sure your outfit is shariah-compliance as well). Another helpful tip is to make sure you wear comfortable shoes like sneakers as you will be on your feet all the time.

Hydrate and eat up

Fuel up before you step foot at the book fair. If you have intentions to go in the morning, then make sure you eat breakfast before you leave the house. It doesn’t matter if you eat a hefty portion or the opposite, what matters is that you have something in your system instead of walking around with an empty stomach. In addition, bring along your water bottle as well to rejuvenate yourself and avoid dehydration.

Extra tips:

  • Bring along an extra bag or luggage with you to put away your books as it will be easier for you to browse through the books at the other booths. Even a tote bag is sufficient.
  • Solo time? Friends date? Family outing? Pick who you want to bring along with for company. Additionally, you can ask them to take your photo if you meet with your favorite author at the book fair.

So, that’s all for me for now. I hope that you find these tips that I offered a big help to all of you and that you will make use of them when you go to a book fair later. Hopefully, you will get the full experience of attending a book fair. Mark your calendar and don’t miss out on the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair 2023, from 26 May – 4 June 2023. Thank you.

P.S., please prioritise your safety everyone and make sure that whatever you bring to the book fair is accounted for, essential details such as your identification card and debit or credit cards as it is an international event that can also attract unwanted people with bad intentions and taint your experience. Please be aware and remain vigilant of your surroundings and be safe as well.

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place, you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” – Roald Dahl -***

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