Back in early February I reported here on the January launch of the “Manassah” platform – an initiative by the Emirati Publishers Association (EPA) to get Emirati titles in front of a regional and wider audience.
Six months on and we have some news about progress made. The Sharjah City Guide blog reports,
…The platform has already been presented at six local and regional cultural events, representing 66 publishers who participated with 5,000 titles. Through the ‘Manassah’ platform, publishers were able to generate AED 61,350 ($16,370) in sales. In the next few months, the platform is scheduled to participate in the Al Ain International Book Fair and Amman International Book Fair. This is a result of the association’s keenness to support publishers and promote their work at various events around the world and introduce people to the rich heritage of the country.
One of the problems facing publishers in the UAE, as anywhere, is the prohibitive cost of attending book fairs and festivals. Even the biggest and most deep-pocketed publishers have to ration the time and energy put into these events, and for smaller publishers attending even a local event, let alone across borders, may not be possible.
EPA Executive Director Rashid Al Kous, explaining the association was keen on presenting Emirati publishers and their creative output at international platforms, whether they were physically present or not, said,
Through the platform, we introduce intellectuals around the world to the huge strides taken by the publishing sector in the country. It is an opportunity to connect with peers and forge partnerships with international counterparts which will contribute to advancing and diversifying the content.
The blog reports,
Supported by Tilal Properties, the platform is designed to boost the representation and outreach of EPA member publishers who published 20 titles or less due to the high cost of participation at top literary events and exhibitions. The Manassah platform plays an important role in expanding to new markets and generating more sales for the local publishers, which in turn contributes to the development of the UAE’s publishing sector.
Since its launch, the ‘Manassah’ project has given local publishers the opportunity to participate in the Casablanca International Book Fair, Muscat International Book Fair, Al Riyadh International Book Fair. Locally, it assisted publishers in presenting their creative outputs at Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and the Emirati Book Fair.
It would be great to see this initiative replicated by publishing associations across MENA and beyond.
For more information about the launch of Manassah, check out this TNPS post:
Emirates Publishers Association launches Manassah platform to showcase member publishers at regional and international book fairs