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 …

Middle East publishing snapshot. As millions descend on Arab book fairs, Arab publishing ups its game

Last month the second Saudi Arabia Comic Con took place. Numbers are just in and 25,000 people turned up for the event in Riyadh. This past week Saudi cinema re-opened after 35 years, and the first film shown was Marvel’s Black Panther. While In Dubai the Middle East Film and Comic Con attracted 60,000 visitors, Read More …

Arab Renaissance 4: Saudi Arabia’s first Arts Book Fair is underway as Casablanca IBF opens and Cairo IBF closes. Publishers look the other way

Reading the Anglophone publishing industry blogs one might think there are only a handful of literary events going on around the world. While Taiwan’s Taipei fair has received significant coverage, you’d struggle to find news and perspectives on the Havana Book Fair in Cuba, still running, or the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela in Bangladesh, or Read More …

Arab Renaissance 2: Eager readers buy books by the suitcase at the Cairo International Book Fair

After falling visitor numbers in recent years due  to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, making books seem a lot more expensive, this year’s event, which finishes today, is looking to be a record breaker. Cairo International  Book Fair – 2.5 million visitors and only half-way through? Book discounts offered at the fair are an Read More …

Arab Renaissance 1: The book café themed like a book

In the First World west we take for granted luxuries like book cafes. Elsewhere the concept is not so familiar. Last September the town of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, got its first book café. That’s noteworthy in itself. More noteworthy still, in a patriarchal society like Iraqi Kurdistan, is that the movers behind the new Read More …

Mobile libraries are on the streets of Cairo to coincide with the Cairo International Book Fair

Minister of Culture Enas Abdel Dayem “launched and re-activated” the Mobile Libraries scheme at the start of the month, initially starting in the Al-Asmarat neighbourhood in Cairo’s Moqattam. Tomorrow (February 8) it will move to Mansheyat Nasser, returning to Al-Asmarat during the winter holidays. The Mobile Libraries project, which includes shows, art exhibitions, and workshops Read More …

Cairo International  Book Fair – 2.5 million visitors and only half-way through?

Unconfirmed reports suggest the Cairo International Book Fair is set to break world book fair visitor attendance records, with 2.5 million visitors so far, and still several days to run. If confirmed then this already puts Cairo ahead of rivals Sharjah (UAE), which recorded 2.38 million visitors last year, and Kolkata (India), traditionally the biggest Read More …

 The “ever-growing demand for new titles and publications” in Saudi Arabia

This week two of the world’s biggest book fairs and the world’s longest book fair are happening simultaneously. The Kolkata International Book Fair in India and the Cairo International Book Fair in Egypt are the two of the biggest, while the Ekushey Boi Mela in Bangladesh is “the biggest gathering of Bangladesh citizens anywhere in Read More …