New Delhi - Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) yesterday organised a panel discussion titled ‘UAE’s Experience in the Publishing Field’, at the 27th edition of 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.

Moderated by Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director of EPA, the panel discussion saw the participation of Mohamed 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; Dr Fatima Al Breiki, Founder of Sama Publishing and Distribution. Citing personal experiences of operating in the UAE market, participants highlighted those characteristics that contribute to the success of the publishing sector in the UAE.

Rashid Al Kous emphasised that the selection of the Sharjah as UNESCO World Book Capital 2019 is an ideal opportunity to introduce Indian publishers to the investment opportunities in UAE’s book market and enable them to boost collaboration with local publishers.

For his part, Mohamed bin Dakheen, EPA Treasurer and Board Member, 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 Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi since she established EPA in 2009.

He added: “EPA was a successful turning point in the country’s publishing journey as, among other things, it has facilitated the participation of Emirati publishers in international exhibitions. The UAEBBY offers high-quality training to publishers in the children’s literature, while SBA expands the nation’s cultural horizons by facilitating translations movements, buying and selling of books’ rights, contracting publishers, supporting libraries and more.”

Dr. Alyazia Khalifa, Director of Al Fulk Translation and Publishing and an EPA member, 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 by SPC, but because her company’s access to EPA’s services were also enhanced due to the Association’s presence at the Free Zone.

She noted how 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 a first-of-its-kind platform in the UAE 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 percent governmental support across the country and knowledgeable young cadre.

She emphasised that publishers play a key role to promote the virtues of tolerance and understanding by making available to local readers content from different cultures, thereby connecting people around the world.

Dr. Fatima 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 extended an invitation to Indian and international publishers to take interest to 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 Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) was founded in 2009 by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi 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. EPA represents the interests of professionals in the UAE’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


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