Emirates’ publishing sector is currently estimated at $ 260 mn : EPA survey

Sharjah: The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) has presented a seminar on Publishing in the UAE in Paris, France. Held at Institut du Monde Arabe, the seminar aimed to give and overview of the UAE’s publishing industry and introduce the EPA to the global publishing community.

The main focus of the seminar was the presentation of a survey, commissioned by the EPA and conducted by renowned publishing experts R?diger Wischenbart Content and Consulting, entitled Book Publishing in the United Arab Emirates under the sponsorship of Sharjah Book Fair.

EPA president Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, commented, “The survey was commissioned with the aim of aiding the EPA in our mandate to improve the publishing industry in the UAE by training and supporting UAE publishers, and by improving publishing-related conditions and laws. One of the EPA’s main focus areas is the dissemination the UAE’s intellectual output throughout the Arab world and worldwide and seminars such as this one form an integral part of our overall strategy to represent UAE publishers at regional and international events, exhibitions, and seminars on publishing.” The EPA president went on to add that book publishing in the Arab world was an exciting and stimulating undertaking. Being a dynamic emerging market, the EPA was committed to developing this part of the world into a hub for publishers and books from across the globe.

According to the survey the overall market worth of the Emirates’ publishing sector is currently estimated to be in the region of US$ 260 million, with English imports dominating. Home-grown publishing is however growing rapidly with many newly formed local publishing companies focusing on producing publications centred on local content and aimed at local and regional audiences. Areas such as educational books in Arabic, practical information, heritage, and children’s books have shown excellent growth.

The study also indicated that the UAE has become a regional leader with regards to legislation – with all relevant agreements on copyright being implemented – and has a wealth of well-educated and reasonably affluent readers. Soaring English language imports and the UAE’s well established strategic location as a well established regional shipping nexus, further strengthens the Emirates placement to become an hub for international leaders in publishing and distribution for the entire Middle East region, as well as a gateway between Europe, the Arab world, and South Asia.

At ground level, economic indicators show that the publishing sector is healthy and thriving. Books are traded and distributed by many well-established players, both at the business-to-business and the business-to-consumer levels. Moreover, the trade is complemented by a diversified ecosystem of professional and cultural platforms, including two internationally recognized book fairs, in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, local and international awards for Arabic writing, and grants for translations to and from Arabic.

The report also emphasised that the recent creation of a substantial professional infrastructure, with competitive book fairs, a professional trade organization for publishers in the UAE, all of which are finding their place in the global networks of the trade, and ambitious yet realistic plans, such as the creation of free zones to encourage the establishment of regional headquarters by leading international publishing groups, the foundation has been created for fulfilling the strategic goal of establishing the UAE as an emerging market and key platform in the global exchange of books, learning and knowledge.

The EPA stated that although publishing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is still a young industry, it has significant potential to develop into a sector of strategic relevance domestically, as well as crucial a hub in the Gulf region’s development into a knowledge-driven society and economy in accordance with the standard practices and ambitions of the twenty-first century.

Established on February 25, 2009, the Emirates Publishers Association is a public entity that serves the United Arab Emirates by working to develop the UAE’s publishing industry. The Association is a member of the Arab Publishers Association and an affiliate member of the International Publishers Association (IPA).