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Sharjah Book Authority chief beckons Indian publishers to use the city as gateway to reach books to third countries 

Jan 06, 2019

NEW DELHI, 6 January 2019: Mr Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman, Sharjah Book Authority, today invited Indian publishers to take advantage of the low logistical costs offered by Sharjah publishing city.  Sharjah, he said, was the first free zone in the world for publishing and is a gateway to reach out to third countries.  

Addressing the 'CEO Speak 2019 - Over Chairman's Breakfast', organised jointly byFICCI and the National Book Trust (NBT)Mr Ameri said that while shipping of goods from India to the Arab world took 60 days, the time taken from Sharjah was a mere two weeks.

Speaking about the Sharjah Pavilion at the ongoing New Delhi World Book Fair, Mr. Ameri said that the pavilion showcases the importance of translation of books in cultural advancement. It has books translated from Arabic to Hindi and presents the works of 10 Emirati authors on UAE history and culture and relations between UAE and India.

Mr Baldev Bhai Sharma, Chairman, NBT, Ministry of HRD, said that Indian's relations with the UAE were age-old and through the World Book Fair, NBT was striving to strengthen these bonds. NBT, he said, inculcates good reading habits and it was working closely with publishers and authors to strengthen the reading culture in the country.

Mr Ali Al Shaali, Vice President, Emirates Publishers Association & CEO Alhudhud Publishing House, said that with its focus on publishing, Sharjah has emerged as a leading city in realising the UAE's vision of becoming a global hub for the creative industries.

He said the Indian publishing industry could benefit from strengthened cooperation with the UAE and Arab World.  The potential areas of opportunity for enhanced India-UAE cooperation are:

  • MOUs between EPA, Sharjah Book Authority, and Sharjah Publishing City and national publishing associations, bilateral trade associations, and government agencies to promote enhanced trade between India and the UAE
  • Enhanced participation of Emirati and Arab publishers at key book fairs in India potentially facilitated by national publishers??? associations
  • Foreign rights and licensing support programs to facilitate the buying and selling of translation and distribution rights between UAE and Indian publishers at book fairs in India
  • Grants and awards programs specifically focused on translation of titles from Indian languages into Arabic and Arabic titles into the major languages of India
  • Business matching support for Emirati and Arab publishers interested in market opportunities to engage with Indian publishers as well as potentially establish more permanent market presences

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI, said that in addition to the efforts of Government, FICCI would be happy to take the co-operation in publishing on a Track II level. "We propose to institute Indo - Emirati Publishing Forum with co-chairs from FICCI and Emirati Publishing Association with the aim of increasing trade between two regions, firming cultural ties, strengthening library moments and creating knowledge economies", he added.

He said that India was the second-largest English language print book publisher in the world. The Indian book market is $4.6 billion, growing at the rate of 20%.  UAE was India???s third largest trading partner and bilateral total trade between the two countries was close to US$ 50 million. The UAE accounts for 37% of India's total books exports to the Arab World. India???s books & printed products exports to the Arab World grew 13% annually (CAGR) from 2000 to 2015.

Mr Ratnesh Jha, Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee also highlighted possible areas of cooperation between the two regions and suggested how FICCI and Emirates Publishers Association can work together to achieve this. 

Mr Vikrant Mathur, Director India & Asia Pacific Nielsen Book, said that the totaltrade market in India was worth INR 24.0 billion and growing at a CAGR of 8.5%. Vernacular trade books accounted for 44% of the market and English trade books 56%.

He said that within English trade books, the highest contribution was that of Adult Non-Fiction at 45%, followed by Adult Fiction (30%) and Children (25%). Hindi contributes maximum (35%) followed by Malayalam (9%) and Bengali (8%).





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