The Arab Renaissance set back by worsening censorship in Kuwait. Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov among 1,000 titles banned at Kuwait Book Fair

After the resounding success of the Sharjah International Book Fair in the UAE, extolling a message of cultural tolerance and publishing freedom, the Arab literary arena was this week plunged into controversy once more as the Kuwait International Literary Festival kicked off. Running November 14 through 24 the Kuwait event was already standing in the Read More …

Ebook sales doubled in US in 2018 according to Data Guy’s nonsensical BookStat numbers

When Digital Book World announced Data Guy would be delivering the closing keynote speech, during which time he would dazzle us with yet more publishing industry numbers known to nobody else, and incidentally would reveal his true identity and answer his critics, there was a muted response. Data Guy’s true identity is neither here nor Read More …

Thalia invests in Skoobe as Storytel booms. Amazon’s KU a magnet for scammers

As I write this, HarperCollins’ CEO Charlie Redmayne is due to make a keynote speech at Frankfurt on the subscription model. Too soon to report on that, but in a preview interview over at Publishing Perspectives earlier this month Redmayne said, Ultimately, if subscription is a business model that consumers buy into, then it’s incumbent Read More …

2020 World Book Capital’s censorship double standards: It’s one rule for Malay titles and another if the book is in English

There were many raised eyebrows this past week when UNESCO declared Kuala Lumpur would be the World Book Capital in 2020. Because while there’s no question Malaysia is making great strides to advance literacy and literary endeavours, that is happening in the dark shadow of official censorship. The Malaysian government has promised to repeal the Read More …

In Morocco, selling pirated books “is the only way to make a living,” with the help of the Mafia

Like in many Arab countries, literacy rates in Morocco are not among the highest in the world, but for Moroccans who do read the challenge is finding books they want at prices they can afford. When bookstores are few and far between and offer a limited choice of books at expensive prices it’s not surprising Read More …

Israeli publisher illegally releases book of Arab women’s texts, complete with pirated cover. Calls it an act of salvation

You couldn’t make it up. A publisher in Israel finds a collection of texts written in Arabic by women, steals a cover image from a Lebanese artist, and publishes them as a book, justifying the piracy by saying the book is giving exposure to writers “whose voices have been silenced for years,” and is an Read More …

A mermaid wearing a bra among the books banned in Kuwait, but protests are gathering momentum

Censorship is a difficult topic that arouses strong emotions, but of course all freedom of speech is relative. From national security to Holocaust denial to incitement to hatred to advocating underage sex, almost every country censors at some level. But some countries take such censorship to extremes. Kuwait is an example. Kuwait has enjoyed a Read More …

Storytel’s Jonas Tellander responds to the Swedish audiobook royalties storm

Svensk Bokhandel, the Swedish publishing industry journal that broke the story about Storytel’s two tier royalties – one level for Bonnier, another for everyone else – carries a response from Storytel CEO Jonas Tellander today. I want to be transparent and answer any questions I can answer. The last thing I want to be is Read More …

Storytel’s royalty model “rigged and manipulated.” Storm brews over Storytel’s privileged agreement with Bonnier

With Storytel under increasing pressure from rival operators in the Swedish audiobook arena two things were inevitable. First, Storytel’s market share would fall. And consequent on that Storytel would need to review its royalty arrangements for its content suppliers – in this case established publishers, as Storytel does not deal direct with authors as per Read More …

Britain uses “Kafkaesque” rules to refuse visas to authors invited to the Edinburgh International Book Festival

There’s a clue in the word “international. The Edinburgh International Book Festival may not be the biggest book event in the world, but it is one of the most respected. Or rather, it used to be. But in the insular world of Brexit chaos and intolerance that is today’s Britain it seems the Edinburgh Festival Read More …