Brazil’s comic con may have been bigger than the USA’s. 275,000 expected as the Jeddah Book Fair gets under way in Saudi Arabia

With just ten days to go ’til Christmas the western publishing industry is preparing to take a break, happy to sit back and let the booksellers, online and off, do their work. But publishing is a global industry where geographical and calendar boundaries are increasingly meaningless, and for much of the world it’s business as Read More …

Days before the Jeddah Book Fair, Saudi Arabia legalises cinemas after 35 years of draconian arts suppression

This has been rumoured for some while, so not really a surprise – many new commercial developments have had cinemas built already, in anticipation of this move – but a very welcome sign that Saudi Arabia is finally leaving behind its more draconian laws and allowing the arts to, if not yet flourish, at least Read More …

Record-breaking Sharjah Int. Book Fair – 2.38 million visitors. $56 million book sales in ten days

The ten day Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) wound up yesterday (Saturday) and literally as I was writing this post today, Sunday, the official numbers rolled in. 2.38 million visitors attended the event in the United Arab Emirates, and books to the value of $56 million were sold. As many commentators are saying, Sharjah is Read More …

OverDrive supplies the UAE’s first digital library

Back in May Book Expo New York hosted an event titled Reaching the Arab World – the New Gateway Hub – The Sharjah Publishing City Initiative. Given the panel comprised Ahmed Al Ameri, Former Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair and Head of the Sharjah Book Authority, alongside the CEOs of Ingram and OverDrive, Read More …

Sharjah Book Fair opens today. 1.5 million books. More than 2.3 million visitors expected

The world’s third largest book fair gets under way today, in the sandy desert of the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates probably isn’t on the radar of most publishers – as we all know, Arabs don’t read, and to even think about the Arab book market is waste of time. Or so conventional wisdom Read More …

Virtual reality books are virtually here. Will publishers seize the opportunity?

It’s perhaps a sign of the times, and of the way the centre of digital gravity is shifting in a publishing world once so easily mapped, that the world’s first virtual reality book emerged last year not from Silicone Valley or from South Korea or Japan, but from the deserts of the Middle East. As Publishing Read More …

Arabs don’t read, and other nonsense. Why the MENA market is an exciting prospect

The Second Arab Reading Challenge has just wound up. Twenty-five nations took part. Seven million students from 40,000 schools supported by 75,000 teachers. The challenge? To read fifty books a year. And in the United Arab Emirates alone 300,000 students completed the task. So much for the idea that Arabs don’t read. And yet… There’s Read More …

Amazon Crossing opens up submissions in 13 new languages

Amazon Crossing, the translations imprint of Amazon Publishing, has long been asking readers and publishers to recommend non-English language books for translation into English, but with the caveat that you needed to speak/read English to navigate the site. Now the submissions site has an impressive drop-down menu in Arabic, Bengali, Dutch, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Read More …

Estonia and the UAE stand out at the Gothenberg Book Fair

The Gothenberg Book Fair is underway this weekend, with 100,000 visitors expecting to attend northern Europe’s biggest book fair. Engaging children and young people and literature has been a common theme across the international book fair scene in recent years and Gothenberg continues the trend. Estonian writer and translator Indrek Koff on Thursday, with Polish Read More …

Jordan Prepares for the 17th Amman International Book Fair

The 17th Amman International Book Fair kicks off next week (October 4) with a ten day event in the Jordanian capital. Nineteen countries will be represented (up from fifteen last year), reflecting not a lack of interest but a lack of space – many applications were turned down, Jordanian Publishers Union Chairman Fathi Al Biss Read More …