Riyadh International Book Fair

Riyadh’s annual International Book Fair 2017 updates! Riyadh international book fair will be inaugurated on 8th March 2017 and continues daily until 18 th March. Read on to find out more about the venue, location info, timings and what this exhibition is all about!

The 10-day long Riyadh Book Fair, will offer books of different genres for readers of all age groups. Besides offering books on discounted rates for children and adults, the fair will encompass a range of events such as counselling sessions and discussions on books,

The 2017 Book Fair is being held at Riyadh’s International Convention and Exhibition Center (RICEC). For the Google maps location click here. Website (arabic) here.

GPS coordinates of RICEC: 24.7510400, 46.7255270

Dates: March 8th-18th 2017

Timing: 10 am- 11 pm Friday 4pm- 11 pm

Guest Country: Malaysia  

With over 600,000 books by over 550 publishing houses, represented by  hundreds ofexhibitors; the Riyadh International Book Fair is one of the largest cultural festivals in Saudi Arabia. More than two million visitors come each year to find and buy new interesting books and to participate in the cultural program accompanying the exhibition.



 haia religious police at saudi book fair

Saudi religious police officers at Riyadh Book Fair


The International Book Fair is much more than just stall after stall of books, there are activities and presentations for both adults and children. Although the majority of books are in Arabic language, there’s an English language section and many of the children’s books are in English.

They also have educational toys and games for sale. The Saudi ministries also have booths at the Fair and one of the many interesting places to stop by at is the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) booth.

Each year, the Riyadh Book Fair sparks controversy among the more conservative Saudis. In the past, groups of religious clerics have protested against allowing women to attend the book fair or to make public speeches. They’re also known for being on the look-out for and wanting to confiscate books which clash with their religious views.

Thankfully in the recent years, women have been allowed to freely participate in the book fair. Nowadays there’s a closed off ‘family section’ where some women are selling books they authored at their own stalls.

The Saudi religious police, the ‘Hai’a’ patrols the fair, on the look-out for banned books. The Haia officers work under the Commission for Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue (CPVPV) and they even have their own stand at the Fair which could be interesting to stop by at. On display, among other things, are items confiscated by the Commission Members. You can find out more about what the Hai’a officers duties are at their stall.

Riyadh’s Book Fair is definitely worth the visit! The best time to go is on weekday mornings when the place is not yet crowded and this is when schools will be visiting so there’s plenty of kids activities.. The Exhibition Center starts getting very crowded in the evenings and the parking lot can be very hard to access because of the traffic, especially around closing time. There are ‘white’ taxis waiting outside the Exhibition Center.

If you take your children, a stroller will come in handy because the exhibition area is huge with many large halls to explore. Take cash with you as payment, there’s an ATM inside the Exhibition Hall, but it can have very long waiting lines. A restaurant and cafeteria are located near the entrance, but both often have long lines during peak hours. There’s an info booth near the entrance where you can ask for a map of the area to have a better understanding of all the things on offer.


a child who reads will be an adult who thinks


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  • J.MohsenMarch 19, 2014 - 11:14 am

    Wish I would have known about this, would have loved to go!ReplyCancel

  • Mohamed Al Saadoon (@burning_phoneix)April 3, 2014 - 2:00 am

    I was surprised Author Services Inc. managed to get a booth. For reference, Author Services is the publishing arm for L Ron Hubbard, the founder of scientology.ReplyCancel

  • KysyyApril 18, 2014 - 12:26 pm

    You wrote about culture shock in one article and how you finally saw that some things are actually in better way in SA compared to Finland. It would be very interesting to read such an article. What is better in/about Saudi society and customs compared to Finland and the other way around?

    Olisi todella kiva, jos kirjoittaisit tuota asiaa koskevan jutun :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaApril 22, 2014 - 5:22 pm

      Moikka! kiitos ehdotuksesta! Yes time willing, I would be glad to write such an article :)ReplyCancel

  • Window on GeorgeMay 17, 2014 - 11:03 am

    great blog!ReplyCancel

  • Dalene PotgieterMay 17, 2014 - 11:03 am

    great blog!ReplyCancel

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    […] 1. Visit the International Riyadh Book Fair. The fair starts 6th March 2012 and runs through the 16th, open daily from 10 am to 10 pm at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center. There is an English books section, a female only area and an excellent children’s book and activity area. Guide to the Book Fair found here: Riyadh International Book Fair. […]ReplyCancel

  • Terri PlezMarch 12, 2015 - 5:29 am

    Do I need to bring cash or do most vendors take ATM/credit cards?ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMarch 16, 2015 - 4:48 pm

      Sorry Terri didn’t see your reply on time. They do have an ATM there, but there’s long lines! Better take cash.ReplyCancel

  • […] area and an excellent children’s book and activity area. Guide to the Book Fair found here: Riyadh International Book Fair. UPDATE Riyadh International Book Fair open in 2016 dates 9-19th […]ReplyCancel

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