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 …

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 …