We’re just a few weeks shy of the first anniversary of The New Publishing Standard, and if I had to identify one regret at how things have progressed this past eleven months it would be that I’ve not had the time to pursue and develop the many smaller and quirkier international publishing stories that have come across my desk.
Kitab Sawti is a case in point.
Kitab Sawti is an Arabic-language audiobook operation with offices in Egypt and Dubai, but headquartered in Stockholm. And it got to Dubai before Jonas Tellander’s Storytel.
With the 2018-19 Arab book fair season about to kick off, and with the big Sharjah event looming, Kitab Sawti has been on my list of exciting but little-covered Arab publishing stories to follow up on, but I’m prompted to report on it sooner thanks to an article on Svensk Bokhandel today announcing new investment by former Bonnier CEO Jacob Dalborg.
It’s not clear what value Dalborg’s investment is, but according to Svensk Bokhandel, Kitab Sawti attracted a 10 million SEK ($1.1 million) investment from Northzone earlier this year. This on top of the SEK 30 million ($3.3 million) put into Kitab Sawti by its CEO since the 2016 launch.
Other investors include the financier Sven Hagström’s company Creades, and Inbox Capital, run by Martin Wattin and Peter Silfverswärd.
Svensk Bokhandel reports Kitab Sawti now employs 50 people and has a catalogue of 1,000 titles.
That might not sound like much but of course it’s 1,000 more Arabic-language titles than Amazon’s Audible has, and I’m guessing more than Storytel Arabia has at this stage.
If you’re reading this in the first place then likely you share my unhealthy obsession with the global publishing markets and will want to know more.
If so, stay tuned. I’ll do my best to get hold of Sebastian Bond and find out more about Kitab Sawti’s operations.
And it looks like, given the Svensk Bokhandel report that Kitab Sawti has offices in Egypt, I may have to revise my assertion elsewhere that AkooBooks in Ghana is the first audiobook operator on the African continent.