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 …

Publishers stand to lose sales worth $46,000 per day thanks to poor search abilities of smartspeakers

For a while it seemed like smartspeakers were the new black of digital audio, driving sales ever higher. But a new study by Score Publishing suggests all is not well in the smartspeaker market, with book-related search queries at best delivering accurate results only 72.5% of the time, and the one we’d expect to do Read More …

Bangladesh Ekushey Boi Mela winds down after a two-day extension, but has it been enough?

The month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, aka the Dhaka Book Fair, has wound up for another year, and it’s improbable any records have been broken as bad weather and bad luck worked in tandem to undermine the event. It got so bad that the event was extended an extra two days, concluding Saturday March 2 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 …

Tanzania’s 2018 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature sets the scene for the Kenya Swahili Literary Festival

Weeks before the first ever Swahili Literary Festival kicks off in Kenya in the first days of March comes news that the 2018 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature will be presented at a special event at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Friday. Brittle Paper reports that, The prize winners…Tanzanian Zainab Alwi Baharoon, 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 …

“A sweeping fantasy epic steeped in Pan-African history and folklore—one of the most anticipated books of the year.” Widely unavailable in Africa

That was the Wall Street Journal this week. Well, maybe not that last bit. What the Wall Street Journal actually said was, Four years after winning the Man Booker Prize, novelist Marlon James returns with a sweeping fantasy epic steeped in Pan-African history and folklore—and one of the most anticipated books of the year Sadly Read More …

Amazon’s Audible says self-published ebooks and paperbacks are not evidence that an author has been published

With the announcement in December that Amazon-owned Audible was sponsoring the prestigious Sunday Times Short Story Award came the prospect that the winners would not just earn some extra cash but would have their entries published as an audiobook that would reach a still wider audience. Which all sounds great. The Sunday Times Short Story Read More …

Looking Ahead: The Manila International Book Fair September 2019

I frequently hear from TNPS readers that they wish they’d known about a particular book fair, festival or other literary event and its background in advance so they could have attended, or organised something on social media to mark the occasion. So this will be the first of an occasional series looking at events well Read More …

Is China now the biggest book market, redux. Alibaba says 30 million new Chinese readers were added in 2018

While one report citing a $55 billion value for the Chinese book market cannot be taken as gospel, a new report from China’s online giant Alibaba adds weight to the possibility the USA’s claim to be the world’s largest book market is now out of date. As reported here at TNPS a few days ago, Read More …

“Realising Africa’s Potential as a Global Publishing Leader in the 21st century” will require abandoning 20th century attitudes towards publishing

The International Publishers Association Seminar on Sustainable Development for African Publishers 2019 will be hosted in Nairobi on June 14-15 with the theme “Realising Africa’s Potential as a Global Publishing Leader in the 21st Century.” James Murua has the scoop on this story, so I defer first to the James Murua African Literature Blog for Read More …

China ended 2018 with 225,000 bookstores and a $55 billion valuation. Has China usurped the US as the world’s largest publishing market?

The latest report from China’s Books and Periodicals Distribution Association tells us China finished the year with 225,000 bookstores and outlets, up 4.3% on 2017, with total sales revenue of 370.4 billion yuan ($54.7 billion), up 5.9% on 2017. The Chinese government has played a big role in supporting publishing recently, as Xinhua reports: Private bookstores Read More …

Books and comics drive the biggest global box office revenue in history

The numbers are in and the numbers are: $42 billion globally, with North America contributing an impressive $11.9 billion of that. As reported here at TNPS last month, US takings were on target to beat the 2016 record of $11.4 billion, and final results show a 4% jump on 2016, and 6.7% growth on the Read More …

Pakistan to launch Adab Festival to the diversity and beauty of Pakistani languages. Anticipates 200,000 for debut event

Pakistan’s Government House will become an open house for three days starting February 1 as the country’s first Adab Festival launches. Co-founder and co-director Ameena Saiyid wants to provide, artists, writers and poets with a platform to exchange ideas and engage in healthy debates (adding) It’s also important to introduce new writers and poets to Read More …

India’s “perfect”, “phenomenal”, “best ever”, “significant”, “watershed” year in publishing

Regulars here at TNPS perhaps won’t be so surprised by the headline. I’ve long said India is publishing’s brightest prospect. And 2018 seems to have been the tipping point at which India shifted from being just another nascent market to a publishing priority. First some headline grabbing quotes from Indian publishers courtesy of The New Read More …

Big Bad Wolf – TNPS Story of the Year 2018

Given The New Publishing Standard only launched in September 2017, 2018 is is our first full calendar year, and our first opportunity to look back on the year and select the outstanding publishing stories, publishing people and publishing industry journals of 2018. Needless to say, being TNPS we were looking at the stories, people and Read More …

600,000 visitors at Pakistan’s Karachi IBF, but publishers and IT Minister do not yet see digital as a way forward in a country with more people online than Spain

With visitors averaging 120,000 a day the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers’ Association (PPBA) is understandably happy with the turnout for the 14th Karachi International Book Fair, equaling the 2017 record of 0.6 million. And next year promises to be bigger still. PPBA Chairman Aziz Khalid, announcing the dates for 2019 (December 5-9 – this year’s Read More …

Big Bad Wolf to debut in Myanmar in January. Taking 1 million books to Yangon. Expecting 500,000 visitors

Big Bad Wolf has barely had time to sweep up after the gigantic Malaysia Big Bad Wolf sale in Kuala Lumpur, which ended December 17, than the team are unloading the first containers in Myanmar for a debut in Yangon. Myanmar? Yangon? If you learned your geography way back in the twentieth century you may Read More …

Self-publishing is “one of the great growth engines of the Peruvian publishing market”

Over at PublishNewsES this week, a thought-provoking study of the Peruvian book market that, unusually, adopts a holistic approach more akin to that we’d take here at TNPS. That is to say, a view that looks at all the key market segments rather than the usual introspective focus on publishers and offline/online retail. In this Read More …

As Norway bucks the Scandinavian trend, preferring print bought offline, TNPS asks: Do the smaller book markets really have anything to fear from Amazon?

A new report, Art in Numbers, from the Norwegian Cultural Council observes 88% of fiction and 75% of non-fiction is consumed in print via Norway’s high street stores, in stark contrast to neighbouring Sweden where streamed audiobooks and ebooks are the trend. Trine Stensen, CEO of the Norwegian Bookstores Association, explained, That the physical bookstore Read More …