– Arab countries’ output of books represents just 1.1 percent of the world total, although Arabs constitute 5% of the world’s population. This is less than what a country such as Turkey produces, with a population about one-quarter that of the Arab countries.
– The Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one fifth of the number that Greece translates.
– Print runs of Arab books are very low, ranging for the average novel between 1,000 and 3,000 copies only. A book that sells just 5,000 copies is considered a bestseller.
– Arab book publishing has been threatened by three factors: censorship and the practice of banning books among the 22 Arab states; low readership, blamed on economic stagnation and competition from the mass media; and the lack of adequate distribution of books across the Arab world.
– Arab websites amount to 14,000 websites, representing only 0.01% of world content.
Something has to be done about this!
It’s a shame to see numbers like this coming out of the Arab world.
More importance should be given to book writing, publishing and reading. Children should be brought up to read more, writers should be given more freedom and more encouraging circumstances to write, more effort should be put into translating important works of art, literature and science.
The responsibility falls on the Arab governments, universities, cultural and scientific institutions, publishers, writers, translators, bloggers, readers and families who have to all work together to change this shameful reality to a brighter one.