His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. Image Credit: WAM

Sharjah: A new book distribution company, operating under the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), will be formed in accordance with a recent directive issued by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to enable local publishers expand their reach into regional and international markets with reduced operating costs.

The newly-formed distribution company will operate from the EPA headquarters situated near Expo Centre Sharjah.

EPA welcomed the new directive and emphasised the “positive impact it will have on the national publishing industry”. Senior EPA officials noted the directive reflects Dr Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi’s firm commitment to support the local publishing sector and will ease the financial burden on publishers while also helping standardise and restructure processes to facilitate the expansion and reach of the industry, both locally and regionally.

Power of books

Ali Obaid Bin Hatem, the EPA president, said: “The local and Arab publishing sector enjoys the unwavering support and guidance of the Ruler of Sharjah, who firmly believes in the power of books and knowledge in shaping and developing societies.”

He added: “The directive to form a distribution company operating under EPA will facilitate the restructuring of the existing distribution process and mitigate the financial burden of publishers. It will also help bolster the presence and boost the share of Emirati publishers in both local and international markets, and their representation in relevant global cultural forums,” he added.

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Rashid Al Kous, the EPA executive director, added: “The new directive will pave the way for a steady flow of Arab titles into new markets and to a wider cross-section of the community, thereby strengthening the relationship between publishers and their readers. We are well aware of the importance of streamlining the distribution strategy and services as currently, many distributors impose high fees on publishers that are negatively impacting sales, thereby further aggravating the upheavals caused by the pandemic.”