• 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)
  • Recent comments

    • Sylvain, on the section Traditional publishing and its response to the digital world. Between danger and opportunity:
      Complétement d'accord avec Thierry, en même temps, quelle solution possède une société si ce n'est d'évoluer ? J'aime assez les systèmes d'édition actuels.
    • Testere, on the section Technical difficulties of digital publishing in Arabic: ePub and OCR:
      No need to exaggerate. There is always a work around and following is one of them. For current technology, only way to get accurate text in Arabic is either using pdf or image. With following version you can read you...
    • Liquid book : le livre au fil du ruisseau, on the section Foreword:
      (…) la dernière conférence matinale par Octavio Kulesz qui rendait compte d’une étude sur l’édition électronique dans les pays du Sud restitue il me semble la qualité et la démarches de toutes les interventions : lumineuses (…)
    • chantal, on the section Technical data:
      merci pour la qualité et la clarté des informations que vous véhiculez sur ce site. Nous attirons votre attention sur notre présence dans le secteur du téléchargement de chapitres de livres universitaires. http://www.artelittera.com
    • octavio, on the section Digital technology as an opportunity:
      Tout à fait d'accord! Ce sera essentiel d'aller du bas vers le haut, de l'intérieur vers l'extérieur, si le but est de stimuler des "écosystèmes" numériques locaux durables et solides.
    • thierry quinqueton, on the section Mobile phones:
      Petite contribution aux difficultés de la communication électronique avec la diversité culturelle : mon e-reader sony bugue sur les ideogrammes chinois contenus dans les notes du texte quand je lis au format EPUB (mais tout est ok dans l'étude en...
    • thierry quinqueton, on the section Mobile phones:
      Le témoignage et la présentation de Qian Fucheng est une nouvelle source de réflexion sur l'apparition de nouvelles formes d'écritures et de nouvelles modalités d'édition.
    • thierry quinqueton, on the section The new giants of online transactions:
      Le requin et le crocodile La façon dont est présentée l'histoire de Taobao et de Ebay est riche pour nous éditeurs membres de l'Alliance.


In the Arab world, as is the case in sub-Saharan Africa, in the Arab world digital publishing is highly incipient. The Arabic language represents a very powerful cohesive force, which may give rise to electronic platforms with transnational reach, but which at the same time – due to technical issues such as the treatment of fonts – [...]

Technical data

Countries that make up the region: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. Population: 300,892,543 (2009) Urban population: 58% (2009) Macroeconomics: GDP: US$ 1,062,418,867,027 (2009) GDP per capita: US$ 3,597 (2009) Unemployment: 10.3% (2010) Politics: Political instability, ethnic [...]

A first approach: virtual stores

The first thing we find in the Arab world are some important online stores selling printed copies. One noteworthy example is NWF (Neelwafurat), whose very name reflects its intention to emulate Amazon, for just as the famous US brand alludes to the South American river, Neelwafurat refers to the Nile and the Euphrates. NWF was [...]

Non-profit portals

In addition to stores selling e-books, there are also private, non-commercial digital publishing projects, such as Nashiri, which launched its activities in 2003. This site, founded by Hayat Alyaqout, a young Kuwaiti woman, combines a free electronic library with a digital book publishing company. Not long after its appearance, it already offered over 120 e-books, [...]

Technical difficulties of digital publishing in Arabic: ePub and OCR

PDF or Flash formats do not present any technical complications for local publishers. But Ramy Habeeb, the co-founder of Kotobarabia, explains that even when a text in Arabic has been carefully laid out using InDesign and other similar tools, converting it to ePub proves extremely troublesome, for various reasons: 1) The flow of text goes [...]

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 [...]

Electronic payments: between the Web and mobile phones

Another characteristic that distances the Arab world from the countries of the North is the unwillingness of Internet users to make online purchases,[1] which perhaps explains why none of the virtual stores aimed at PC users from the internal market has been particularly successful. Ramy Habeeb comes straight to the point on this topic: Unfortunately [...]

Mobile phones as a publishing platform

Here too we can mention Kotobarabia, which in an attempt to diversify and supply the internal market, has put its efforts into distributing e-books via cell phone infrastructure.[1] In order to do this, in 2009, the portal teamed up with Sarmady, the digital branch of Vodafone in Egypt. Similarly, the Austrian company Blackbetty Mobilemedia, specializing [...]

The challenges of paper publishing: inefficient distribution and censorship

Now, while all these digital experiments are being carried out, what is going on in traditional publishing? The fact is that in the Arab world, the book sector has been facing enormous challenges for decades, with its main problem being the lack of a uniform distribution system. What is worse, there is no proper database [...]

Digital technology as an opportunity

As we suggested when analyzing the situation in sub-Saharan Africa, the fundamental challenges of publishing in the Arab world – in this case, inefficient analogue distribution and censorship – can be overcome or at least mitigated thanks to the incorporation of electronic technology. With regard to distribution problems, it is obvious that digital offers a potentially unlimited [...]

Possible trends

Currently, it is possible to identify various forces that are likely to have a considerable effect on future publishing in the Arab world: The recent political events that took place in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and other locations have already brought about modifications in the power structure of those countries, something that in turn [...]