• Table of contents

    • [+]Preliminaries (3)
    • [+]Introduction (4)
    • [+]Latin America (13)
    • [+]Sub-Saharan Africa (9)
    • [—]Arab World (11)
    • [+]Russia (11)
    • [+]India (11)
    • [+]China (9)
    • [+]Conclusions (6)
    • [+]Appendix (1)

Arab World

E-readers and tablets

Like in sub-Saharan Africa, in the Arab world possession of e-readers and tablets is limited to the wealthiest stratum of the social pyramid. The sales figures for the Kindle are not known, and devices like the iPad are considered luxury products. As Ramy Habeeb observes:

We are not seeing the iPad phenomenon like we see it in the West, but part of the reason we are not seeing it is because the iPad is quite expensive in the Middle East, especially when you take into account the average salary that someone in Egypt or the Levant is earning, compared to the sale price of the iPad… So you are really getting the elite, like the A consumer, the A class consumer that can afford it. But the bigger issue is just that the AppStore and the iTunes Store are very limited in the Middle East, so what’s the point of having an iPad if you don’t have access to the iTunes Store, if the AppStore is very limited… I mean, the AppStore is OK, you still can get quite a lot of apps, but it’s not like Europe, where you just have a lot more. (…) It’s all English, so you have to be bilingual to really be able to effectively use the AppStore.[1]

When asked whether an e-reader could be developed in a country like Egypt, by adapting it to the needs and expectations of local readers, Habeeb does not appear to be overly enthused:

I think I am a pretty positive person, who believes that anything is possible, so I hesitate to say “no”. But I don’t think so… no. Then again, if you had asked me 5 years ago if people in Egypt would eat sushi, I would have laughed at you and said “there’s no way for people to eat sushi”. But now, today, sushi is the most popular cuisine in Egypt. So anything could happen. But sorry, I don’t think so!

  1. December 2010, cited supra.

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