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 …

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 …

As western publishers look the other way millions attend Arab book fairs in February

The numbers are in, and its more records falling as Morocco’s Casablanca International Book Fair pulls a crowd of 550,000, while Iraq’s Baghdad International Book Fair joins Cairo, Sharjah, Algiers and Muscat in the million+ Arab book fair club. I’m still trying to track an official number for the 2019 Cairo International Book Fair in 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 …

475,000 attended Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah International Book Fair. The Arab Renaissance continues

When it comes to judging the potential of the so-called nascent book markets, attendance at book fairs and festivals is a good barometer. First we have to divest ourselves of the idea that national and international book fairs all take the form of the celebrated western book fairs like Frankfurt, London and New York, which Read More …

Saudi Arabia’s 4th Jeddah International Book Fair set for 13 days over western Christmas and New Year

Yet another reminder that the global book markets care nothing for the idiosyncrasies of the western publishing calendar. While western publishing all but shuts down, bar the retailers, for the Christmas and New Year festivities, Saudi Arabia will be holding its second-largest book fair, starting December 26 and winding up January 5. The Jeddah International Read More …

Despite censorship controversy Kuwait International Book Fair attracted 300,000 visitors. MENA on target for 10-15 million visitors this Arab book fair season

The Kuwait News Agency report extolling the success of the 43rd Kuwait International Book Fair carefully avoided any reference to the censorship controversy that beleaguered the event. But it did mention that the Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri  had held, a meeting with the organizers to go over Read More …

2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award longlist lines up 13 titles for the prestigious Arab literature prize

With contenders from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Syria, Yemen and Norway, the 2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award long list for the Literature category is announced, with ten novels, two poetry collections and a memoir forming the line-up. Here’s the longlist:   Novel: Esmy Fatima (My Name is Fatima) by Egyptian writer Amro Al Adly (2017) Read More …

Countdown to the Doha International Book Fair in Qatar

427 publishing houses from thirty countries – that’s the Doha International Book Fair, which launches November 29 and runs through to December 8. With the Arab book fair season well under way, close to five million people having already attended MENA book events so far (over two million each at Sharjah and Algiers), and many Read More …

Sharjah 2.23 million. Algiers 2.2 million. 4.4 million visitors to Arab book fairs in the past two weeks. The Arab Renaissance gathers momentum

The Sharjah International Book Fair just missed last year’s record-breaking 2.38 million visitors, but it was still a fabulous show, with 2.23 million turning out to the UAE’s biggest literary event. Sales numbers haven’t been announced yet, but at day 7 (of 11) were reported to be running at 15% higher than 2017’s record-breaking sales. Read More …

The Handmaid’s Tale released in UAE as Arab book market globalisation builds

Margaret Atwood’s famous dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is available in Arabic – for the first time ever. The internationalisation of the Arab book markets continues apace, and is epitomised by the release of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in Arabic at the Sharjah International Book Fair. Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s novel, set in a Read More …

80,000 titles, 1.6 million books, 1,874 publishers, 77 countries and a message of intercultural tolerance. Sharjah prepares to break its 2017 record

The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) held a press conference this week to mark the countdown to the 2018 Sharjah International Book Fair, which last year clocked 2.38 million visitors. The 1.6 million books that will be on sale is itself a record, as is the 1,847 publishers from 77 countries that will be at the Read More …

As the Amman International Book Fair gets underway, say hello to Jamalon and Yaqut – Jordan’s hidden online book and ebook stores

The Amman International Book Fair is underway in Jordan this week as the Arab book fair season gathers momentum. Although smaller fairs like Al Ain in the UAE are already playing to an enthusiastic crowd – Abu Dhabi’s 10th Al Ain Book Fair is underway as the Arab book fair season gathers pace The Jordan Read More …

Books, Pyramids and Sun. The world’s biggest book fair will be 50 in January. And yes, it’s in Egypt

You couldn’t make it up. The world’s biggest book fair is in a part of the world where, so conventional wisdom has it, nobody reads. Egypt’s Cairo International Book Fair will celebrate its 50th edition in January, with the Arab League as guest of honour for this special event, and literally millions of visitors will Read More …

Abu Dhabi’s 10th Al Ain Book Fair is underway as the Arab book fair season gathers pace

Al Ain is not the biggest book fair in Abu Dhabi – that won’t be until April 2019 when the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair kicks off – but Al Ain, running September 23 through October 2, is one of countless book fairs I’ll be reporting on across the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region Read More …

Spotify plans a MENA launch as thoughts turn to audiobooks. MENA’s digital genie is out of the bottle

With TechCrunch reporting Spotify is looking at tie-ups with Hulu, and possibly a tie-in with Scribd for audiobooks, comes news that Spotify will be a launching in the United Arab Emirates in 2018-19, and looking to make a mark on the MENA (Middle East – North Africa) region. First, let’s take a look at Spotify’s Read More …

Amazon finally moves on the Arab ebook markets. Is a Kindle Egypt store or even a pan-Arab Kindle store on the cards?

Regulars here at TNPS will be aware the MENA (Middle East North Africa) Arabic-language book market is nowhere near the dead-end for books that some believe. In fact Arab book fairs and festivals attract huge numbers of visitors and sell huge volumes of books each year. In the first five months of 2018 alone, upwards Read More …