World’s largest floating book fair docks in Abu Dhabi

Logos Hope, the largest floating book fair in the world, has returned to Abu Dhabi for a second time with a replenished batch of books and a renewed crew of 400 volunteers.

Volunteers for the Logos Hope head ashore to welcome visitors yesterday after the ship docked at Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National
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Abu Dhabi // The world's largest floating book fair has opened in the capital.

Smiling crew members from 55 countries dressed in their native costumes to welcome visitors aboard the MV Logos Hope for today's ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The liner is on its second visit to the UAE with a fresh batch of books for sale and a crew of about 400 volunteers.

“We are very happy to be here,” said the ship’s American captain, Tom Dyer. “We’re looking forward to a great visit.”

The Logos Hope’s last stop was Bahrain, where 51,000 visitors browsed its books over 12 days until it left on Monday.

On the liner’s last visit to Abu Dhabi, in 2011, 42,000 people visited over two weeks, said Rodney Hui, director of partner development. The ship also stopped in Dubai that year.

This time, the vessel will be docked at Freeport, berth 40, behind the Iranian Souq, until November 24.

Visitors are welcome from 2pm to 10pm daily and entry is free. Ladies-only shopping hours will be from 9am to noon every Wednesday.

“It’s going to be a busy, busy three weeks,” Mr Hui said.

The floating book shop has about 5,000 titles neatly lined on shelves stacked from floor to ceiling.

Subjects include biographies, cookery titles, classic literature and resource books. Prices vary but most of the stock is available at discounted prices, such as Dh15 for Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield.

Most of the fiction and non-fiction books are in English but there are also several titles in Arabic. A new stock of books donated by publishers arrives about every three months.

Monica Peva, of Brazil, was among the first shoppers. She flew to the UAE to meet up with her son, Beto, 28, who is a volunteer on the ship. She was impressed with the volume of goods offered.

“They have lots of CDs, lots of music, lots of DVDs, lots of books,” Mrs Peva said. Her purchases included a sailing book for her other son in Brazil, a map and a framed sketch of the Logos Hope.

The volunteers are a key attraction of the ship, offering visitors a chance to meet people from around the world.

At the ship’s culture cafe events, being held from 7pm to 9pm today and again on November 14, the crew will showcase their cultures and heritage with national dances, songs and other performances. Tickets to the culture cafe cost Dh30 and can be bought on board.

This visit may be the last to the Middle East for some time, said Cat Tse, the ship’s media relations officer.

“It is certainly not the last time the ship will be visiting and we hope to return to the Arab Peninsula again in the future,” she said. “However, since the ship visited in 2011 and now in 2013, we want to visit other regions of the world where books and practical help can be provided.”