TOC Report: Keynote, 1,001 Arabian rights; digital publishing and its role in exposing non-English languages
February 24, 2010 | 2:35 pm
By Paul Biba
Ramy Habeeb, established first Arabic language ebook house.
Arab publishing market behind western publishing, and its lessons also applicable to other emerging economies. 60,000 titles published every year. Arabic market is the size of the US.
Problems: distribution is still very primitive, In Egypt, 80% of books only available within 5 kilometers of publishing house. Censorship is still a problem. Three kinds: on purpose, self censorship and unconscious censorship. No viable OCR solution available in Arabic. International standards are a problem. Nobody uses ISBN numbers. They have them but don’t use them or any other international standard.
Industry is ripe to be entered and needs the major players. Mobile phones are everywhere, villages won’t have a library or bookstore, but will have 4 mobile phone stores. Would be an excellent book distribution system. PoD would work wonderfully in Arab countries and also to bring Arab books to the US.