A stunning feature at this year's Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is a National Geographic photo exhibit with images from soldiers praying to Allah in the snow of the Himalayan mountains of Kashmir to a salt camel caravan in Niger. Unretouched, mounted, 3x5 photos prove "a picture's worth a thousand words" and stand as proof that print is still powerful. In 2010, when the Abu Dhabi media company partnered with National Geographic to publish an Arabic edition of the magazine, the goal was twofold for the Emirate: to increase reading among young people and to raise awareness of environmental issues. For the 120-year old magazine it was a perfect footprint into the Arab market. In six months, the magazine has reached a circulation of 50,000 in 17 countries, according to marketing manager Ahmed Makled. The magazine is 60% photos with 20% tailored for the Arab-speaking audience. A volume of the first three issues bound with accompanying CDs is being offered as a promotion for 35 dinars (about $10).
The 21st fair officially opened March 15 with 875 publishing houses in attendance from 58 countries. More than 500,000 titles are on display. Fifty authors are scheduled to appear to autograph their books.