ABU DHABI, 22nd May, 2022 (WAM) — The first edition of the International Arab Publishing and Creative Industries Congress was launched today as part of the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2022) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC).
Organized by the Arabic Language Center Abu Dhabi (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the Congress highlighted current trends in the publishing and content in Arabic, while facilitating dialogue between stakeholders, thought leaders and entrepreneurs on their various creative platforms.
The Congress welcomed Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Association of Publishers (IPA), and Dr. Ali bin Tamim, President of the ALC, as well as a host of Arab and international officials, publishers, d experts and media representatives.
Special guest speaker Sheikha Bodour kicked off the event with a keynote speech, during which she said, “In recent years, the Arabic publishing industry has witnessed a series of internal debates that establish a new understanding of the central role that publishing plays and can play, not only in supporting cultural development, but also in supporting the overall development of the people of this region.
“This movement is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but it must be built on a solid foundation so that we can establish a strong, resilient and sustainable Arabic publishing sector. A key factor in ensuring long-term success term of the publishing industry in any region of the world, is the total commitment to respect for copyright and freedom to publish.”
In his address, Dr Ali bin Tamim said: “The International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries is a new chapter in the vision and legacy of the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to consolidate the position of Abu Dhabi as a world cultural center. We strongly believe in the importance of the publishing and creative industries and the role they play in enhancing the presence of our Arabic language, emphasizing its aesthetics and defining characteristics, and emphasizing the impact it has on bringing our culture and our identity to the world.
“The International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries brings together the most eminent publishers and experts, marking an important step towards realizing this vision. Reflecting this commitment, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is building a sustainable cultural sector investing AED30 billion as part of its strategy to support the cultural and creative industry and empower its key players around the world.”
In a keynote titled “The 70-20-10 Model for Innovation in Publishing,” Ann Hiatt, American bestselling author, Silicon Valley veteran and investor, said: “Publishing is extremely important to humanity and we have benefited from it throughout history. , in the Middle East today, there are many capabilities and an ambitious reality that heralds the transformation of ideas into knowledge on the ground. We need to invest in every available opportunity and create content that showcases the experiences and knowledge to be shared for the benefit of all people around the world.”
The first round table of the event, on the theme “Arabic publishing: where are we and where are we going?”, explored the main Arabic publishing markets, the most popular genres and their shares. respective markets, the market share of e-books and the importance of imports to serve the Arab market. Moderated by Carlo Carrenho, publishing consultant, the session brought together Sherif Bakr, publisher at Al Arabi Publishing and Distributing; Shereen Kreidieh, Managing Director of Asala Publishing House; Stefanie Lamprinidi, regional content expansion manager for Storytel; and Rüediger Wischenbart, president and founder of Content and Consulting.
During the discussions, Sherif Bakr said, “Arabic publishing markets are growing and growing continuously, and there are approximately 450 million speakers of the Arabic language, in addition to speakers residing abroad. At the same time, statistics indicate that Egypt ranks fifth. worldwide in terms of readership.” Bakr also pointed out that Arab publishing markets have many capabilities that allow them to develop and grow in the future.
For her part, Shereen Kreidieh said, “Many factors affect the publishing industry, and without a doubt, this is an issue that confuses the sector or pushes it to grow, and in our world. Arabic, there are many promising models in the field of publishing, especially in light of the presence of a large number of writers, translators and publishing houses, and we can say that the market for publishing in the Arab Gulf region is considered one of the most active and powerful markets, especially when it comes to the manufacture of children’s books, and this is something that greatly helps the media and the media to develop editing mechanisms.”
Stefanie Lamprinidi gave an explanation on storytelling, as her company provides a service to over 20 million audiobook subscribers, calling for the development of such books, which are flourishing. In cooperation with its partners, it has been able to publish more than 8,000 audiobooks per year. The company entered the Middle East and Africa with over 2,000 audiobooks, all in Arabic, and has books in over 30 languages, the most widely read books in the world.
Rüediger Wischenbart said, “There is a need for a permanent, permanent platform that addresses these three areas of concern, and that is how we will overcome market fragmentation. When we have different countries on board, we can work together to create a permanent structure that must focus on teaching reading. We have to learn from other countries and other models, but when we focus on the Arabic publishing market, we have to create our own model.