Fri 28-01-2022 16:09 PM
SHARJAH, 28th January, 2022 (WAM) -- The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) recently hosted a virtual brainstorming session titled, ‘The Future Prospects of Publishing’, to engage local publishers in the process of setting priorities and developing the entity’s strategic 5-year plans.
Ali Bin Hatem, President of EPA and Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of EPA, participated in the virtual session that was also attended by board members and Emirati publishers. Moderated by Hisham Al Umrani, participants discussed the progress and development of the Association over the past few years.
Hisham Al Umrani noted that the entity is scaling up plans to lead the publishing industry in the region to the next level with more promising opportunities for Emirati publishers. The President of EPA highlighted the importance of the initiative launched by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to establish a new distribution company operating under EPA to enable local publishers expand their reach into regional and international markets with reduced operating costs and thereby promote the sustainability of the publishing sector.
Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of EPA, emphasised the entity’s responsibility in generating innovative ideas to develop the UAE’s publishing industry and ensure its sustainability in discussion with decision-makers. He highlighted EPA’s mission to engage publishers in setting its priorities and defining strategic plans to advance the industry in the UAE.
Al Kous called on publishers at the virtual session to visit EPA’s website to learn more about the entity’s comprehensive services and facilities available for its 219 members through different projects including consultancy and technical services, and to stay updated about its ongoing initiatives.
During the session, participating publishers shared their ideas and concerns, and discussed ways to prioritise these in EPA’s action plans. Publishers addressed the current logistics challenges, high shipping costs, and the need to streamline distribution of Emirati books in the Arab region. Participants mooted the idea of receiving shipping discounts from delivery companies to facilitate the delivery of Arabic books to international markets and called for the opening of more book outlets in major shopping centres across the UAE.
Participants highlighted the importance of resuming book fairs in schools and universities and launching community initiatives to promote a culture of reading by organising workshops and publisher-led competitions and by raising awareness on the escalating social media consumption and falling reading habits. Publishers shared their individual experiences of the book selection process and highlighted how books are evaluated by a reading committee before printing to ensure the production of quality and meaningful content that meets the needs of readers.
In a discussion about the impact of book piracy and plagiarism on the local publishing sector, publishers suggested the idea of partnering with international book fairs in the Arab world to enforce intellectual property laws that would blacklist and prevent publishing houses engaged in printing or selling pirated literature from participating in book fairs.
At the end of the session, participants commended EPA for its continuous efforts in serving publishers and facilitating easy access to its comprehensive range of services and initiatives, including the ‘Manassah’ platform that supports new and upcoming local publishers and enhances their international visibility. Publishers thanked EPA for keeping them updated of its extensive range of services, facilities, and benefits.