During Sharjah Book Authority’s participation at largest book fair in the United States
- Sharjah Publishing City targets 950 million young people in the region
Dubai, UAE - June 03, 2017:
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been praised by an elite group of prominent global publishing experts for his belief in the power of books and knowledge to promote intercultural dialogue and peace.
The remarks came during a panel discussion organised by Book Expo America for Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) on the sidelines of its participation in the book fair, with Sharjah being the only representative of Arab culture at what is the largest annual book trade fair in the United States.
During the discussion, which was titled ‘Sharjah: A New Gateway and a Hub for Publishing Industry in the Middle East, Asia and Africa,’ the panel participants said that today’s world, with its rapid shifts and changes, needs forward-thinking leaders like His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. Paying rich tribute to his immense efforts in fostering cultural communication between the Arab region and the Western world, they highlighted Sharjah’s internationally-acclaimed status as a hub for the publishing industry and a promoter of knowledge in the Arab world.
Moderated by Seth Russo, Vice President of Simon & Schuster Publishing Company, the session featured HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA; John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Content Group and Steve Butch, Chairman of Offer Drive Company. It was held in the presence of a number of American and international publishers, as well as authors, intellectuals, and media figures.
'What today’s world is witnessing confirms our dire need for intellectual leaders such as His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah - leaders who believe in the power and influence of books and whose drive and determination in the arena of culture leaves the door wide open to the international community to network, develop and advance together as one human community,' said John Ingram.
“His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah reaffirms the cultural project that he has chosen to build the emirate, which is today considered the capital of Arab culture, through his speeches, his directives and his non-stop efforts. His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi is the strongest supporter of international book fairs and cultural events in his firm belief that the book is an immortal tool that can make a crucial difference to human civilisation,” he added.
The panel participants spoke highly of the many opportunities offered by Sharjah in terms of investment in knowledge, the book industry and the publishing market. They cited the work undertaken by the emirate to offer a conducive environment and professional foundations to enhance the role of writers’ contact with the international publishing community and to support publishers and authors from around the globe.
Speaking of Sharjah’s offerings for publishers, Al Ameri highlighted what Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) can offer in this area. He said that the new free zone will bring about significant positive changes and have a tremendous impact on the publishing industry in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, transforming Sharjah into the region’s capital of publishing and a gateway for publishers to expand their businesses around the world.
Al Ameri noted that SPC participates in more than 30 book fairs worldwide through SBA’s pavilion at these events and reiterated that it was established following a series of studies and discussions with stakeholders and publishers, with a view to meeting their array of cultural and economic requirements.
Highlighting the investment opportunities offered by SPC, Al Ameri said: “Our regional market imports books and related material worth $1 billion, with an annual growth rate of up to 11%. The future book industry in the Arab world and the Middle East will serve nearly 950 million young people in the region. This places Sharjah Publishing City among the main hubs for publishers, simply because young people are the most demanding demographic for books and knowledge content.”
John Ingram pointed out that the emirate’s clear strategy, forward thinking vision and grounded realities provide concrete evidence that Sharjah offers important opportunities for global publishers. “As a businessman in this vital industry, I aim to make sure that my group establishes a footing within Sharjah Publishing City to capitalise on the continued development and growth experienced by the emirate,” Ingram said, adding that he greatly trusts Sharjah and the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi.
Steve Butch used his participation in the discussion to talk about the economic and geographic advantages enjoyed by the emirate and its sophisticated publishing infrastructure to support publishers and reinforce the importance of books. He highlighted the approach inspired by the vision and strong belief of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah in books and reading, thus making the emirate an unparalleled destination for publishers, writers and publishing sector professionals.
“Due to its great advantages for professionals in the publishing industry, Sharjah has become a centre for publishers from around the world. The emirate is globally recognised as a hub for books - an achievement and a focus of attraction for all those interested in major markets such as Asia, Africa and the Arab region, all accessed through Sharjah’s gateway,” Butch said.
Book Expo America, the largest annual book event in the United States, provides a focused professional environment to discover emerging authors and the next blockbuster titles. It also offers a platform to engage with the world’s most influential publishers, enabling attendees to network with and learn from industry leaders and peers.
Established in December 2014, SBA is dedicated to encouraging investment in the creative industries and facilitating knowledge and intellectual exchange between people from different civilisations and cultures. The organisation is tasked with highlighting the significant role of writers and their influence in promoting community awareness in view of present day technological advancements and the diversity of knowledge sources.
SBA aims to attract relevant bodies and figures operating in the cultural sector in general and in the realm of book publishing, printing, translation and documentation in particular.