Indonesia International Book Fair 2015

September 2 marked the opening of the Indonesia International Book Fair. To enter, the event is free of charge. It is held in the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), Senayan and will continue its run of events until Sunday, 6th of September.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend on its first day, which was a Wednesday so I beat the crowds. Hopefully, more people will visit on the weekend because it is a very good event for book lovers. It’s not just an event for publishers to connect and network – although if you are a publisher, this is a very good event too. There is a rights fair going on and there are publishers from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, and the Netherlands (that’s on the top of my head) hunting for book rights.

But anyway, for the average bibliophile, there are discounts. Lots and lots of discounts from all the major publishers and booksellers. Behold! I have taken photos for your viewing pleasure:

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The words “major Indonesian publisher” is synonymous with Gramedia. So what a surprise! They have taken up a lot of real estate to display their books.

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All the Gramedia books in JCC have a 20% discount. It may not be all-out bazaar prices but it was made up for with good quality titles. I spied Agustinus Wibowo’s three travel books. Literary fiction by Eka Kurniawan, Ratih Kumala, Sapardi Djoko Damono, and Arswendo Atmowiloto were abound.

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Mizan, another major Indonesian publisher, has also set up camp in JCC. I think they also offer 20% discounts off their books. Andrea Hirata’s Laskar Pelangi quartet and new novel Ayah were prominently displayed.

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Kompas Penerbit Buku and Periplus were there too. I saw Kompas’ annual short story anthology sold here. Meanwhile, Periplus had a lot of good deals. Some books were sold for 10,000 and 20,000 rupiahs. Of course, you have to do some digging to get to the good titles. I even saw Alice Munro’s The Love of a Good Woman for 40,000 rupiahs.

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Kinokuniya had a stand but I must say they are pretty skimpy with their discounts. 10% off regular prices and their regular prices goes upward of 200,000 rupiahs. It’s not enough discount to matter to me personally, but they do have good titles: Steinbeck, Murakami, Ishiguro, etc. The ones with a higher discount are run-off-the-mill, indistinguishable mass market paperbacks.

Back to the Book Fair: South Korea is this year’s Guest of Honor and what a joy it was to flick through the Korean books on display. I was amazed at how well-made they were. I kept rubbing the paper of their children’s books because of their high quality. Some pictures:

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General Korean Fiction 

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The children’s books I was enamored by

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Look at this book! Isn’t it gorgeous? I was arrested on my tracks when I spied this book. The beautiful illustration made me take a picture so I can take note of Hong Woo-jeong’s name. Unfortunately, cursory Google searches have failed to find this amazing illustrator.

I hope I have convinced you that the Indonesia International Book Fair is worth visiting. If you need extra incentive, every day they are giving out free trips to South Korea. You might get lucky.

As for myself, I’m trying to be a good girl and not hoard so many books so I only got this:

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It was buried deep in Periplus’ pile and it only cost me 20,000 rupiahs (considering our awful currency at the moment, it’s not even $1.50). I really should read more non-fiction. Just books that expand my knowledge of the world, really. And since I know practically nothing about North Korea, this seemed a perfect fit.

Let me know if you have any questions about the Indonesia International Book Fair. I might visit again so if you need extra information, tell me in the comments.

12 thoughts on “Indonesia International Book Fair 2015

  1. Wow, I’ve never heard of any international book fair in Indonesia before. Luckily I follow your blog and got this information from you.. Thanks a lot! 🙂

    I’ll come to this fair for sure. I want to buy “Garis Batas” the last book of Agustinus Wibowo’s traveling trilogy and dig those Periplus cheap books.. I’ve never read any Korean literature, do you have any recommendations where should I begin?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad that you’ve decided to check out the Book Fair.

      I saw all of Wibowo’s books yesterday: Selimut Debu, Garis Batas, and Titik Nol, so you should be able to find what you are looking for. There were a lot of people digging in the Periplus section yesterday but I hope you can still find some treasures.

      I know nothing about Korean literature, hahaha. I’d love to read some though. We both need someone to recommend us a couple of titles..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I love going to Book Fair, unfortunately I’m always lack of information about it.

        I do hope to find some literary treasures in those Periplus book piles. Hopefully my kind of books don’t similar to the others, so I can still find some good reads.. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Were you able to see the pictures I took? Thankfully, a friend of mine informed me that she wasn’t able to see the photos. I think I fixed the problem so everyone should be have a look.

        And I was there again yesterday (just didn’t want to deal with the weekend crowd). Apparently Periplus keeps restocking their book load so that’s good news for you.

        I wish I had taken more pictures because I saw even more publishers at corners I didn’t visit, like Obor and Balai Pustaka. BP had a lot of major classics but their book covers are hideous, they really could do with a fresh design. I got Mochtar Lubis’ short story collection at the Obor stand with a 25% discount 🙂


  2. Finally photos appeared. Haha.

    Went there on Saturday, ended up bought only one book in Balai Pustaka and took a picture with Sapardi Djoko Damono (fangirl detected). I also told BP’s people that their covers ware crap, they should make the new ones.

    The fair was so so but yeah it’s better than none :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What book did you get from BP? Yeah, I told the sales assistant at BP that they really need to update their book designs. He looked embarrassed and I guess we directed our ire at the wrong people. It’s not the salesperson’s fault. Maybe we need to e-mail BP?


      1. Yes perhaps so. hahaha. I am glad that other publishers published Ahmad Tohari’s or Umar Kayam’s with nice covers (except that crappy Mangan ora Mangan Asal Kumpul), translated international classics also have pretty ones. BP really should think over theirs if they want to promote their classics.

        I bought Suman HS’s Mencari Pencuri Anak Perawan. First edition was in 1932.


      2. If I recall correctly, Umar Kayam and Ahmad Tohari are both published by Gramedia and Gramedia tends to have better book designs anyway. Agree 100% with what you said about BP.

        Hahaha, not really interested in Mencari Pencuri Anak Perawan but write a review on it anyway when you get around it.


    1. Oh no, I would have been so sad… 😦

      And you’re from Toronto? I heard Margaret Atwood can be often found casually strolling downtown. I had a dream of getting her autograph once (betraying my freakishness here).

      Incidentally, I’m reading a Canadian book at the moment: Alice Munro’s Runaway.


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