The IPA Middle East Publishing Seminar is underway in Jordan, and to mark the event, TNPS and parent company StreetLib have produced an online presentation exploring the digital potential of the Arab book markets in the new decade, as part of our commitment to furthering the debate about global publishing.

As usual in circumstances like this we present the StreetLib press release in full below without additional comment.

Watch out for regular coverage and commentary about the Amman Seminar, the Jordan International Book fair and the Arab book markets in in the regular TNPS columns.

[PRESS-RELEASE] Supporting the IPA Middle East Regional Seminar in Amman, StreetLib-TNPS delivers an online presentation showing the digital potential of the Arab book markets

Milan, Italy, September 30th 2019

With the theme “How can reading change the course of history?” the International Publishers Association Middle East Regional Seminar that opens in Amman, Jordan today is set to take “a fresh look at the publishing industry in the region and worldwide.”

To mark the event StreetLib and its publishing journal The New Publishing Standard (TNPS) have, in conjunction with the IPA, produced an online slide-deck presentation exploring the digital potential of the Arab book markets across MENA (Middle East North Africa).

Click on image and use arrows (bottom left) to to view slide-deck.

Both within the MENA region and in the wider world there is a widely held belief that “Arabs don’t read” and that the MENA book markets are a dead-end for publishers.

At StreetLib we strongly disagree with this notion, and through many posts in The New Publishing Standard over the past two years have challenged this faux narrative, showing the MENA region to be an exciting prospect for publishers and readers alike.

Not only are many of the world’s largest international book fairs in the Arab markets (only one book fair in Europe attracts more than one million people — six Arab book fairs attract over one million), but Egypt is home to the largest book fair on the planet.

Arab countries have held the prestigious UNESCO World Book Capital title on three occasions, including this year, where the UAE’s Sharjah is putting on an unprecedented show.

And while it’s not an even spread, many Arab countries have among the best literacy rates in the world.

With 447 million people in the Arabic-speaking countries of MENA the Arab markets are larger than the US, UK and Canada combined, and 220 million of them are online.

Yet digital publishing in the Arab markets is still in its infancy, despite the practical challenges of paper & ink book distribution across this large and physically daunting region straddling the Saharan and Arabian Deserts.

For the Amman Seminar the IPA has clearly identified digital as a key factor in developing the Arab book markets as we start the new decade, and with that in mind this joint presentation by StreetLib and TNPS takes a fresh look at the Arab book markets with a view to their digitally-driven future.

StreetLib CEO Giacomo D’Angelo said:

“The IPA Middle East Publishing Seminar marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of the global publishing market, as we say goodbye to a decade of disruption and change and prepare for a new decade where disruption and change can only accelerate still further, driven by digital.

For this reason we make no apology for the digital slant in this overview of the Arab book markets as we take a fresh look at the region, with the intent not to rehash the existing problems we all know about, but to identify new opportunities as publishers, authors and consumers adapt to the new paradigm where smartphone-based digital consumption is no longer a novelty but a way of life.”

For TNPS, Editor-in-Chief Mark Williams said,

“While the IPA Seminar in Amman has a focus this year on the core Middle East markets, we’ve addressed the wider Middle East North Africa Arabic-language market for this overview, and have placed the Arab markets in a global context, looking at the unprecedented opportunities a hybrid print and digital business model brings to the region’s publishers, authors and consumers.

We are witnesses to, and participants in, a Global New Renaissance, digitally driven and quite unprecedented in human history, in which the Arab Renaissance is an important component.

There’s never been a more exciting time to be an author, publisher or booklover.”

About StreetLib

StreetLib ( publishing facilitator and a global gateway to the $143 billion international book market, 70% of which is happening outside the USA, for publishers big and small. Whether you are an independent author or a multinational publisher, StreetLib offers unrivalled global reach through our worldwide network of retail, digital library and subscription service outlets. StreetLib distributes ebooks, audiobooks, comics and print-on-demand paperbacks. StreetLib’s standard model is no up-front fees and it takes just a 10% commission per sale made.

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