New Delhi: The Emirates Publishers Association, EPA, yesterday, organised a panel discussion titled “UAE’s Experience in the Publishing Field”, at the 27th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair, NDWBF 2019, as part of Sharjah’s “Guest of Honour” programme at the fair.
It addressed the unique capabilities of the UAE’s publishing industry, the many opportunities offered by the local market, and shed light on the government’s efforts to promote industry practices.
It was moderated by Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of the EPA, who emphasised that the selection of Sharjah as the Unesco World Book Capital 2019 is an ideal opportunity to introduce Indian publishers to the investment opportunities in the UAE’s book market and enable them to boost collaboration with local publishers.
Mohammad Bin Dakheen, EPA Treasurer and Board Member and Director of Dar Al Takhayul Publishing House; Dr Alyazia Khalifa, Director of Al Fulk Translation and Publishing, and Dr Fatima Al Breiki, Founder of Sama Publishing and Distribution, participated in the panel discussion. Citing personal experiences of operating in the UAE market, the participants highlighted those characteristics that contribute to the success of the publishing sector in the UAE.
Bin Dakheen said, “EPA’s registered members increased from 30 to 130 publishers in less than two years, thanks to the excellent corporate strategies and the leadership of Shaikha Bodoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi since she established EPA in 2009.”
He added, “The EPA was a successful turning point in the country’s publishing journey as, among other things, it facilitated the participation of Emirati publishers at international exhibitions. The UAEBBY offers high-quality training to publishers in children’s literature, while the SBA expands the nation’s cultural horizons by facilitating translations movements, buying and selling of books’ rights, contracting publishers, supporting libraries and more.”
Dr Khalifa spoke about the added advantages she received as she shifted her offices to the Sharjah Publishing City, SPC, Free Zone, not just due to the world-class business and services offered, but because her company’s access to the EPA’s services were also enhanced due to the association’s presence there.
She noted how the SPC is a hub where publishers can contact various entities responsible for issuing permits and ISBNs, and other services all under one roof. She said the Free Zone has offered publishers the first-of-its-kind platform to expand their network regionally and worldwide.
Alyazia stressed that publishing in the UAE is strong enough to position the country on the world map in this sector. She added that the strength of the industry is derived from 100 per cent governmental support across the country and knowledgeable young cadre.
She emphasised that publishers play a key role in promoting the virtues of tolerance and understanding by making available to local readers content from different cultures, thereby connecting people around the world.
Dr Al Breiki, highlighted the role of certain regulations in nurturing the publishing sector. “The UAE is on the top spot in Arabia when it comes to copyright and intellectual property protection. The country continues to forge new international partnerships to support and protect the works of publishers and authors. For that reason, many Arab and international publishers set up their businesses in the UAE, and publish their content there,” she said.
She extended an invitation to Indian and international publishers to take interest and invest in the UAE’s rapidly growing and diversifying publishing sector, and benefit from it. She noted that Sharjah and the UAE’s efforts to nurture and support this sector is not limited to only Emirati publishers, but extends to the entire publishing community worldwide.
The EPA was founded in 2009 by Shaikha Bodoor to serve and develop the publishing sector in the UAE, as well as to advance the role of Emirati publishers through training and mentoring programmes that help raise their efficiency.
It represents the interests of professionals in the country’s publishing industry by working on advancing their rights. It constantly works to improve the conditions of the profession and its related laws in coordination and cooperation with concerned authorities in the UAE and beyond.