When Mikael Norrman, CEO of Sweden’s Booqla (not to be confused with Spain’s Booqlab), found it heavy-going competing with the big American ebook service providers he looked around for a less-competitive self-publishing arena in which to try his hand..
Norrman explained to DigitalDi,
Sweden is such a small market and our problem was that if you read from left to right, you can use any American free service anywhere to publish your ebooks.”
So he looked around for a niche the other players were not taking seriously, and his eyes alighted on the potentially lucrative Arabic language book market.
There are only a handful of ebook players in the Arabic-language arena, and none were offering a dedicated self-publishing portal.
Hekayh was born.
Hekayh pays a 55% royalty, compared to Amazon KDP’s 70% or 35%, but as the Kindle store is off-limits to most of the Middle East and North Africa, the recent move to beta-test Arabic–language titles in KDP is unlikely to get much attention where needed most, giving Hekayh a strong advantage.
Of course having ebooks in Arabic is of little use if there is nowhere to sell them, so as well as the limited existing channels for digitized Arabic titles, Hekayh is also a sales site with international reach, tapping into the Arab diaspora.
According to professional Arab publishers site Nasher, Hekayh is working with
publishing houses from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia … stocking 1,000 books as a first step, with 20-30 new books being added every day.
Nasher also reports that Hekayh aims to bring out books in other languages in the near future.
More on that as this story develops.