Qatar’s Doha International Book Fair pushes 2019 event back to 2020

Launched in 1972 as a bi-annual event, the Doha International Book Fair went annual in 2002 and this year will be the first time since that a year has been skipped. Usually scheduled for the end of the year, the 30th incarnation of the event has been pushed back to 9-18 January 2020. The current Read More …

Submissions opened for the Sharjah International Book Fair Awards. Deadline September 1

With Sharjah the World Book Capital this year (check out this interview with Bodour Al Qasimi to find out how that came to be) the Sharjah International Book Fair promises to be even more of a extravaganza than usual. One of the highlights will be the Sharjah International Book Awards. The deadline for submissions is Read More …

Arabic folk tales get a second Manga outing. Jinn about to launch in 190 countries. As Arab storytelling goes global, when will publishers catch up with digital video?

Manga has long since moved away from its homelands in the Far East, and we in the west tend to take for granted now that Manga is part of the international cultural scene. So the news from the Cannes Film Festival that Japan’s Toei Animation studio is working with other countries will come as no surprise. But Read More …

IPA and Dubai Cares sign MoU to support African publishing, committing $800k over four years

Dubai Cares will be no stranger to those that follow global education initiatives. Part of the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, Dubai Cares has benefitted over 18 million children and young people across 57 developing countries – 20 in Africa. Now comes news that Dubai Cares has pledged AED 2,938,800 (USD 800,000) Read More …

Arabic audiobook operator Kitab Sawti grows 20% month on month. Picks up $6 million in new funding as Amazon remains ambivalent towards the Arab book markets

Headquartered in Stockholm, Kitab Sawti has since 2016 been working the Arab audiobook market, largely unnoticed by the outside world. It’s not alone – Dhad, Booklava and of course Storytel Arabia are among its rivals for the affections of Arab audiobook lovers, but it’s a telling point that whereas Storytel is expecting to hit the Read More …

Amazon launches in UAE, home of UNESCO World Book Capital, with only third-party-seller books, no Kindle store and no Arab self-publishing option

The rebranding of online Arab marketplace Souq will surprise few. Two years after Amazon bought Souq it is now, for the UAE at least, rebranded as Amazon AE, and the previously reported January 2019 focus on opening up the Middle East to the US marketplace continues as expected. Middle East online bookstore Jamalon raises $10m Read More …

Harry Potter now available in Arabic audiobook format via Storytel, but press release gets ahead of itself and states Storytel is in 18 countries

Back at the Cairo International Book Fair earlier this year Storytel announced its plans to launch the Harry Potter books in Arabic as audiobooks, and the first audiobook is now available to download. It’s a huge boost for Storytel Arabia and likely to bring to the platform a lot of new subscribers. A press release Read More …

Sharjah’s Children’s Reading Festival counts us down to the Sharjah World Book Capital celebrations

They say a picture is worth a thousand worlds, and what says it better than this image from  the Sharjah World Book Capital twitter account today. ( @SharjahWBC ). The Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival typically draws a crowd of around 300,000. NB By the time you see this it will be 5 days, or 4 Read More …

As the Tehran International Book Fair goes head to head with at least 8 other major global book events later this month, let’s not forget the writers and readers of Iran

Starting April 24 and running through until May 4, the 32nd Tehran International Book Fair has China as guest of honour this year, and as usual the event promises to be spectacular, with around 2 million visitors piling in. Last year’s incarnation brought in sales worth the USD equivalent of $38 million, but despite this Read More …

Sharjah to be Special Guest of Honour at Moscow International Book Fair in September

Not much to report here but it’s such a fine example of the Global New Renaissance unfolding, that I’m allotting it an item of its own. Earlier today the news broke on twitter – and we have since had a few more details via the UAE’s The National, which reports Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman Read More …

Iraqi Kurdistan’s 14th Erbil International Book Fair closes with 400,000 visitors as another MENA book fair record tumbles

With one million titles on offer it was always going to be a big attraction, but even so the numbers soared over previous years, setting a new record of 400,000 visitors. In 2017 100,000 was the record, so a clear sign that the Arab Renaissance is gaining momentum. The Erbil event in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Read More …

14th Erbil Book Fair underway in Iraq’s Kurdistan. 100,000 visitors expected

Iraq is probably on few authors or publishers lists as a place to sell books, and no question the bookselling infrastructure leaves much to be desired. But you would be wrong to dismiss Iraq, or any part of the Middle East, as a no-go area for booklovers. This past week the Erbil International Book Fair Read More …

StreetLib publishing portals now reach half the world. Makes a $5 bn African publishing market valuation for 2025

Italy-based digital books distributor and publishing facilitator StreetLib has completed the fourth stage of its global roll-out with all of the Middle East and South Asia enfranchised. The company now offers an author and publisher portal for literally half the world. Full disclosure: The New Publishing Standard (TNPS) is published by StreetLib to further the Read More …

Middle East online bookstore Jamalon raises $10m in funding for expansion as Amazon remains ambivalent about the $1.7 bn MENA book market

Little known outside the Middle East, Jamalon is the Arab world’s largest online bookstore, fielding over 10 million titles in English and Arabic. Based in the Jordanian capital Amman, but with bases in Dubai and Riyadh, Jamalon purports to be, the largest online bookstore in Middle East, offering more than 10 million titles of Arabic Read More …

From a mortgaged dagger to World Book Capital – books are woven into Sharjah’s history and DNA

We’re weeks away from the Emirate of Sharjah, part of the United Arab Emirates, assuming the title of UNESCO Word Book Capital, and it’s likely there’s never been a more fitting choice. Not because this is the first Arab nation – in fact Egypt and Lebanon have both carried the title in past years. Nor Read More …

Dubai’s Booklava wins The Bookseller’s AudioBook Publisher of the Year Award

Unsurprisingly, audiobooks have been a hot topic at the London Book Fair, which finishes today, but it wasn’t the usual suspects, Audible and Storytel, that grabbed the headlines. The Bookseller’s Audiobook producer of the Year Award went to an audio outfit in the United Arab Emirates, which may come as a surprise to those who Read More …

Oman’s Muscat International Book Fair clocks over 1 million visitors for second year running

When Oman’s Muscat International Book Fair scraped across the magical one million visitors mark in 2018, by just 60, clocking an elegant attendance of 1,000,060, the big question was, could it be repeated? Oman, after all, is an Arab nation in the Middle East. Hardly a hot bed of publishing and reading. Or so we’re Read More …

Over 5 million visitors spend over $5 million at India’s 2019 book fairs. And we’re only halfway through February

India’s Kolkata International Book Fair wound up earlier this week and the numbers are in: 2.3 million visitors spent 230 million rupees (US$ 3.2 million) on books in twelve days. Given the price of books in India the volume must have been huge. This just weeks after 900,000 turned out to the New Delhi World Book Read More …

Emirates Publishers Association launches Manassah platform to showcase member publishers at regional and international book fairs

When it comes to getting noticed in the international book markets, regional and international book fairs and festivals can play a significant role. At the professional end of the book fair spectrum there is the chance to network with agents, scouts, foreign publishers and see up-and-coming tech initiatives. While consumer-facing events can put a publishers’ Read More …

Can Oman’s Muscat International Book Fair this month beat its 2018 record of 1 million visitors?

Now be honest. If we think of the Arab book markets at all, the Gulf state of Oman is probably not on the list. But Oman is full of surprises. The Muscat International Book Fair has been running most years since 1992, and at its debut fielded 200 publishing houses from 19 countries, attracting a Read More …