UAE: Sharjah conference to tackle post-COVID challenges for Arab publishers

File photo of a previous edition of the conference
Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: In the presence of Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association (IPA); and representatives of the League of Arab States, the sixth edition of the Arab Publishers Conference will be hosted by Sharjah on November 2 and 3.

The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) and the Arab Publishers Union are organising the sixth edition of the key regional conference dedicated to supporting and advancing the region’s publishing industry.

It carries the theme ‘Arab content industry and post-pandemic challenges’ and will celebrate the League of Arab States as the Guest of Honour.

The conference will run on the sidelines of the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Held in strategic partnership with SIBF organiser Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the conference brings together 35 speakers, experts and publishers including representatives of Arab book fairs, Arab publishing associations, and professionals and experts in the publishing and creative industries, who will share their experiences and key market insights in eight panel sessions.

The two-day event will highlight the journeys of Arab publishers in overcoming pandemic-induced challenges and will focus on the book industry, education, supply chains, and post-pandemic marketing of Arabic titles. The conference will also discuss the impact of digitisation on publishing rights, book fairs in the digital era, and the future of libraries.

Practical solutions

In addition, the sixth edition will address the existing skills gap in publishing stakeholders and spotlight the impact of authors and publishers on the Arabic language.

Mohamed Rashad, president of the Arab Publishers Association, emphasised that Sharjah continues to attract Arab publishers due to its ongoing efforts to support books and the publishing industry in the Arab world and internationally.

He added that through the critical topics it focuses on, the conference will offer practical and innovative solutions for publishers to overcome their immediate and long-term challenges, adapt to emerging trends, promote entrepreneurship, and provide an opportunity for expertise and knowledge exchange between all participants. It will also help intensify coordination with book fairs and publishers’ unions and associations in the region.

He added that the comprehensive support provided by the emirate in generating solutions and initiatives will bolster the presence of Arab publishers at the conference and ensure the sustainability of the book industry in the region.

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Emirati publishing sector

Ali bin Hatem, president of EPA, said: “For two days, participants will deliberate on several topics and challenges impacting Arab publishers which reflect the importance of the Arab Publishers Association Conference as a platform for discussion and communication between major publishers and stakeholders.”

He added: “At the conference, EPA will share the latest developments in the Emirati publishing sector and its dynamic vision in adopting latest homegrown as well as global innovations in book publishing. Our publishing sector strongly supports the rights of all individuals to access sources of culture and knowledge, instils the habit of reading, and consolidates industry wide efforts to enhance knowledge among publishing stakeholders including institutions, individuals and exhibitions such as book fairs. These are all successful strategies and endeavours we will highlight at the conference.”

Four discussion panels on the inaugural day will cover strategies to advance the publishing sector, expand the post-pandemic book market, address the impact of digitisation on copyrights, and formulate solutions to bridge the skills gap.

Sessions on the concluding day will focus on the repercussions of the pandemic on the publishing industry and the influence of contemporary Arab authors and publishers on the Arabic language. It will also discuss the future of libraries and the impact of the global supply chain disruptions on the publishing sector.