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100 new publishers have registered in the UAE since 2007.

Summary: Abu Dhabi Book Fair holds forum to discuss challenges faced by Arab publishing industry

Image Credit: Supplied Sami Zaatari, Staff Reporter

Abu Dhabi: The number of registered publishing houses in the UAE grew from 59 to 164 between 2007 and 2017, said an official from the Department of Culture and Tourism -- Abu Dhabi (DCTA) on Saturday, highlighting the country's drive towards establishing a thriving publishing industry.

This was stated at the Future Book Forum held as part of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) in partnership between the DCTA -- Abu Dhabi and Canon, bringing together several publishing firms from the Middle East to discuss the challenges faced by the publishing industry in the region and how they can be addressed.

"The number of publishers registered in the UAE went from 59 in 2007 to 164 registered in 2017," said Abdullah Majid Al Ali, executive director of the National Library Department and the director of the ADIBF.

"We at the DCTA -- Abu Dhabi believe the accomplishments achieved by our country are a positive step that will put us at the forefront of the world's publishing industry. We have a good infrastructure in place today with support from government entities that are helping publishing houses," he added.

Al Ali also spoke positively about partnering with Canon in bringing the Future Book Forum to Abu Dhabi for the first time.

"As part of this partnership, it is our aim to evolve and foster the emirate's book heritage and culture. The world is changing and it is our duty to guide others and help them adapt to this change and succeed with it."

Explaining the many challenges being faced by publishers in the Arab world, Mohammad Rashad, president of the Arab Publishers Association, said, "A lack of interest in reading books, high illiteracy rates, preference of social media over books ... piracy and the high costs of producing books are some of the main challenges we face.

"The solution requires governments to develop projects that encourage children to read from an early age; due attention must be placed on reading in the schools and to make it a part of the curriculum. This will make reading a habit for children. Adults should also be encouraged to read and the way this can be achieved is by providing a place for them such as public libraries where they can go and read," he added.

Rashad said the UAE was setting a good example in the Arab world with its initiatives towards supporting a culture of reading, but added that this has to be replicated across the region.

"The UAE is on the right track with the development of its reading projects and this gives us a lot of hope. Our goal as publishers is to increase the number of readers in the Arab region, and what the UAE is doing is helping bring those numbers up."


What: Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

When: Till May 1

Timings: 9am to 10pm

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:May 1, 2018
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