The State of the Art in Arab Digital Publishing

29/09/2012 / Octavio Kulesz

Notes by an international observer

The Arab World is an extremely diverse and dynamic region. While it is true that the Arabic language acts as an integrating force for the whole area, there are profound cultural, economic, and political differences not only between the various nations but also within each country.

Digital publishing merely reflects these contrasts. Indeed, a Lebanese e-book publisher is not unaware that he has potential readers in such geographically distant places as Morocco, but he is also mindful that in order to reach them he must partly adapt his content and prices. Similarly, an Egypt-based iPad apps developer knows that his real clientele is found among the middle and upper sectors of his country’s social pyramid, since the majority of the local populace does not own these devices—although they do have cell phones. This great variety has resulted in a heterogeneous and promising digital market, as we saw clearly at the 2012 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Below is a summary of observations arising from numerous interviews carried out both during and after the fair with leading players from e-commerce, apps developers, digital aggregators, traditional publishers, and Internet start-ups.

The boom in e-commerce: advances and challenges

[Read more on Al Kitab Al Arabi]

Octavio Kulesz

About the author

Octavio Kulesz is an Argentinian digital publisher and philosopher. In 2007 he founded Teseo, one of the first e-book publishing houses in Latin America. He is the author of the report “Digital Publishing in Developing Countries” (commissioned in 2011 by the Prince Claus Fund and the International Alliance of Independent Publishers), and a Unesco expert on the 2005 Convention.

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