Novel ideas at Book Expo Thailand

Novel ideas at Book Expo Thailand

Despite its controversial new location, this year's event promises to be bigger than ever

Novel ideas  at Book Expo Thailand

It's that time of the year again when local bookworms cannot sleep for excitement. Book Expo Thailand, a paradise for book lovers, returns, offering thousands of books, new and old, rare and familiar, at discount prices, all under one roof.

The 24th edition of Book Expo Thailand sees the event take place in new surroundings. Forced to move away from its traditional home at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (which is temporarily closed due to renovation), this year the fair is being held at Impact Challenger, Muang Thong Thani, from tomorrow until Oct 13.

Event poster PUBAT

The decision to move both Book Expo Thailand and the National Book Fair & Bangkok International Book Fair to Muang Thong Thani has not been without controversy. There has been a significant amount of negative feedback and debate online, with many concerned about the difficulty of getting to a venue so far from the city centre and so lacking in transport links. Attendees face a tricky journey home if they are carrying heavy bags full of books.

Kompit Panasupon, an executive committee member of event organisers the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (Pubat), said that while the association understands the public's concerns, Pubat also believes the relocation will open up the fair to a wider audience.

"A lot of people are unhappy about the relocation, with some even saying that they won't be going to the new venue," said Kompit. "But since we announced the move to Impact Muang Thong Thani, people from places like Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi and Chon Buri have been expressing excitement because they don't have to fight the traffic to come all the way into the city."

Graphic rendition of the "Bring Content To Life" exhibition. PUBAT

Pubat claims that it took months of discussion and searching before they decided to settle on Muang Thong Thani. According to Kompit, Impact Challenger was the best choice because it can accommodate massive crowds, while being cheaper to rent than alternatives like Bitec Bangna. The organisers have also teamed up with the Bangkok Transit Authority, the Ministry of Transport and other organisations to provide greater transport convenience to visitors.

"There will be vans to take people to and from Victory Monument, Mo Chit BTS station and Nonthaburi Civic Centre MRT station free of charge," he said. "This year, we've also partnered with Kerry Express courier service to provide nationwide book deliveries for those who don't want to carry the books home themselves. They will arrive at your door within two days."

Graphic rendition of the "Bring Content To Life" exhibition. PUBAT

Book Expo Thailand 2019 features titles from 318 publishing houses, alongside 888 booths throughout the 20,000m² space at Impact Challenger Hall 2. This year's theme, "Bring Content To Life: Fight The Crisis, The Time When Thais Do Not Read Books", is highlighted in several exhibits, taking in the history of books, the evolution of printing and how to encourage Thais to read more. Some feature augmented reality technology to enhance the reading experience. Pubat will also hold book reviews, in the same vein as movie reviews, to give people more information on interesting titles.

"As technology improves rapidly, so should we adapt ourselves along with it. Books aren't the only medium through which to find information anymore," Kompit said. "Content is the most important thing, whether it's accessed via the internet, phone applications, e-books, exhibitions or elsewhere."

Graphic rendition of the "Bring Content To Life" exhibition. PUBAT

The centrepiece of the fair is the exhibition "Bring Content To Life", which aims to inspire visitors to read more through a range of activities and stories. It is divided into five activity rooms. The first of these is the Query Room, where visitors can join in the fun by leaving comments. The Reception Room is designed to give the feeling of being in a real library. The Timeline Room displays information on the evolution of books. The Documentary Room looks at the rapid changes brought about by modern technology, and how this has impacted books and reading habits. And lastly, the hall of exhibitors showcases the integration of existing content with different media, such as AR books, pop-up books and more.

When asked whether he feared that traditional printed books would eventually disappear, Kompit said he wasn't concerned.

"I don't think printed books will fade away anytime soon, especially in the academic system. According to a study I have read, those who read print absorb and remember more of the plot than readers of e-books do. Scientists believe this effect is related to the tactile sensation of holding a book in your hands," he said.

"While content is now available everywhere both online and offline, printed books can usually be relied upon to contain factual information, but the internet is full of inaccuracies. That's why we came up with the exhibition, to teach a new generation of readers how to access knowledge responsibly."

Event poster 2

  • Thailand Book Expo 2019 runs until Oct 13, 10am-9pm daily, at Impact Challenger Hall 2, Muang Thong Thani. Admission is free.
  • For a complete line-up of activities and general information, visit or facebook/bookthai.
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