Abu Dhabi has launched a AED700 million ($190.5 million) fund to support local publishing houses that produce books in both Arabic and English.

The new fund, launched through the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT), is in line with the government strategy to promote knowledge and strengthen the UAE’s publishing sector, according to a statement.

The initiative, the latest in a series of projects launched by DCT Abu Dhabi and ALC to support publishers, has recently kicked off with a purchase of 10,927 books from 50 publishing houses that took part in the 2022 Al Ain Book Festival.

A total of 500 titles were purchased as part of the grant, 125 of which were in English.

The books will be distributed to institutions and government entities in the UAE, focusing on children and youth, to foster a passion for reading within the country’s young population.

The books purchased through the new grant were selected based on a set of criteria, including social values, diversity of topics presented and issue date (no earlier than 2020).

The subjects they cover include non-fiction, historical and fictional stories. Also purchased were scientific and educational books designed to build children’s knowledge and personalities.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)