The free StreetLib-TNPS B2B global-perspectives newsletter for Middle East North Africa authors and publishers is hitting inboxes about now.

A mixture of regional and global publishing news, Publish MENA‘s function is to offer insights and inspiration to publishers across this exciting region – home to some of the world’s largest book fairs and literary events – and to encourage publishers within and outside MENA to take this publishing opportunity seriously.

From the introduction:

Perspectives amid a pandemic

The big story for this edition of Publish MENA is the buy-out by Sweden-based digital books subscription service Storytel of the Arabic-language audiobook subscription service Kitab Sawti. That’s one of two Storytel items this time around, as digital subscription continues to drive the debate about the future of Arab and global publishing.

Storytel’s latest results and its announcement to launch soon in Indonesia and Thailand, make up one of our three International perspectives posts this edition, with subscription services Nextory and Bookbeat being the other two.

As ever this is not about global publishing news per se but how these operations are demonstrating there is an alternative to the age-old model that currently defines MENA publishing, which per several items in this newsletter is widely regarded as being “in crisis”.

Our MENA focus starts with news of a live discussion on YouTube between representatives of the International Publishers Association and the Arab Publishers Association. That’s Monday July 13 at 1 PM CEST.

That’s followed by the opening of applications by Emirati publishers for financial support from the EPA Emergency Fund, and then we stay with the UAE for news about a seminar to discuss Arab book fairs, before heading off to Egypt for news from the Bibliotecha Alexandrina.

Saudi Arabia’s newly launched Literature, Publishing and Translations Commission comes under scrutiny, and we take a look at the Qatar-France 2020 event designed to being these countries closer through cultural exchanges.

Staying with Qatar and a look at Arabic-translations into Bengali before we visit the perspectives of a major Italian publisher trying to break into the exciting Arab book markets.

Digitisation comes up yet again with topics on Egypt and Jordan and talk of the “never-before-seen subscription model in the Arabic markets, and we wind down with a note about yet another online event, this time arranged by the UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the UK’s trade journal The Bookseller, and that’s all about the Arabian Nights.

What’s not to like?

Here’s how the table of contents pans out for Publish MENA # 10:

  • Welcome to Publish MENA # 10
  • Storytel acquires Arabic audiobook subscription service Kitab Sawti
  • IPA-APA Debate: Publishing in the Arab World during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • EPA Opens Registrations For Emirates Publishers Emergency Fund
  • Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina holds a virtual seminar
  • Saudi Arabia’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission live sessions on YouTube July 5-18
  • Qatar-France Year of Culture 2020
  • Arabic translations in Bangladesh
  • An Italian publisher’s perspective on the Arab book markets
  • Storytel beats forecast for Q2, taking subscribers to 1.23 million and Q2 revenue up 43%
  • “The never-before-seen emergence of ‘subscription culture’ in the Arab world”
  • “Egyptian and Arab publishing were in crisis before the pandemic. Now exacerbated by lockdown”
  • Only 30% of Jordan’s publishers took digital seriously before the pandemic ripped up the MENA book fair calendar
  • UAE’s Sharjah International Book Fair will go ahead Nov 4-14. All exhibitor spaces sold
  • The global influence of the Arabian Nights
  • Further reading
  • Thanks for reading

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