• 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.
All posts for the month F, Y

Between the digital and the analogue: experiences with CD ROM and print on demand

Founded in 2008, the publishing house Nouvelles Éditions Numériques Africaines (NENA) bases its business model on marketing electronic books on CD ROM. From its headquarters in Dakar, this company compiles law books in PDF format – with DRM – which it sells in Senegal and Cameroon. Each one of these books contains thousands of pages and comes [...]

African online stores

Kalahari is one of the leading online stores in Africa and sells books, CDs, cameras and other mass-market products. In its digital downloads section, inaugurated in March 2010, it offers a backlist of almost 220,000 e-books and 50 electronic magazines at various prices and in different formats,[1] by both African publishers – for example LAPA – [...]

Digital repositories

In addition to the commercial platforms, there are numerous digitization initiatives and open access publications to be found across the entire continent. Below we will present two noteworthy cases. The publishing company Human Sciences Research Council Press disseminates material on social science research in electronic format – downloadable free of charge – and printed format – at very [...]

The mobile telephone, a key actor in African digital publishing

In addition to the devices and tools mentioned so far – all still in their early stages –, there is another actor that is perhaps the real protagonist of future electronic publishing in Africa: the mobile phone. In comparison to other technologies, the penetration of cell phones in the region is extremely high, not just in cities [...]

Traditional publishing and the digital age: opportunities, challenges and proposals

Vosloo insists on the need to use the technology available and not just focus on paper books, but what happens in the case of traditional publishers? Those working in the printed book sector all agree that publishing in Africa has been facing enormous challenges for decades. According to the Cameroonian publisher François Nkeme, from the [...]

Possible trends

In spite of the enormous difficulties that exist with regard to infrastructure and human resources, digital publishing in Africa shows interesting potential. Based on the cases studied we can outline a number of future trends: The mobile phone network will continue to be fertile terrain for new experiments in book publishing or promotion, given that [...]


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 [...]


As can be inferred from the data for the sector, since 2008 the Russian publishing industry has entered a delicate phase due to an economic downturn. However, electronic publishing projects do not appear to have suffered the same impact and although very little news about the Russian digital industry reaches Europe and the US, some [...]

Technical data

Surface area: 17,075,400 km2 Population: 141,850,000 (2009) Urban population: 72.8% (2009) Language: There are about 160 different ethnic groups that speak around 100 languages. Russian is the only official language, but the Constitution grants the republics of the Russian Federation the right to declare native languages co-official. GDP: US$ 1,230,725,856,403 (2009) GDP per capita: US$ [...]

Online stores (selling copies)

As an initial approach, it is important to recognize that within Russia there are a significant number of websites dedicated to the sale of books, in both paper and electronic format. Founded in 1998 in Saint Petersburg, the company Ozon began by selling paper books – just like Amazon. It now covers a wide selection of [...]

Subscription stores

In addition to portals selling individual copies, Russia has numerous websites that base their business models on subscriptions. First of all, we should mention Bookmate, an online reading club whose users can read e-books by paying a monthly subscription fee of 99 roubles, or just over 3 dollars. The site, which was designed by three [...]

Digital distributors

Public sales portals are supplied by the publishers themselves or by digital distributors. One of the best-known players in the field of e-book distribution in Russia is Litres. Founded in 2006 through a merger between different portals and then acquired by Eksmo, this aggregator and seller of electronic books began with just 90 titles and [...]

Free access virtual libraries

In addition to these retail stores and commercial distributors, we find numerous first-rate libraries that make their backlists available to the public in digital format. Some sources claim that there are no less than 400 official electronic libraries in Russia, without counting the privately-run portals.[1] In this regard we must highlight the efforts made by [...]

E-readers and other local devices

If, as we have seen, there is considerable activity taking place in online platforms – stores, distributors and libraries –, then we must acknowledge that the hardware industry displays even greater vigour. In addition to the aforementioned Ozon Galaxy or iChitalka, dozens of e-readers are manufactured in Russia and sold in both the domestic market and abroad, [...]

Print on demand

In comparison with the progress made by electronic platforms and hardware companies, a technology like POD is still very much in the background. Nevertheless, some firms in the sector have begun to back this new modality. In October 2010, the third annual “On Demand Russia” exhibition was held in Moscow and the event enabled dozens [...]