Sharjah Publishing City opens its doors to the world

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Sharjah Publishing City opens its doors to the world

The Sharjah Book Authority announced the officially opening of Sharjah Publishing City, the new publishing hub in the Middle East. The enormous two-story complex was opened by Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and member of the Federal Supreme Council, during a special opening ceremony at the venue with over 200 international publishers in attendance.

 Sharjah Publishing City, which spans 19,000 square meters and contains 400 individual office spaces, will be the new UAE home for a range of international publishing houses, organizations and institutions, publishing service providers, distributors and printers. The facility will provide its tenants with the opportunity to capitalize on tax-free privileges, and also give them strategic access to the Middle Eastern, Asian, European and African markets. It is also ideally situated for import and export, with access to major international airports and sea ports on two different coasts.

 Sharjah Publishing City will also become the new headquarters for the Sharjah Book Authority, alongside a number of the UAE’s official publishing organizations, including the Emirates Publishers Association, Emirates Writers Union, Arab Writers Union, Children’s Book Association and the Emirates Library Association and Information.

 Meanwhile Ingram Content Group, through its Lightning Source LLC operating company, has been in discussions with the Sharjah Book Authority to have a presence in Sharjah Publishing City as a print on demand participant. Sharjah Publishing City is also in discussion with Indian offset printing specialists Repro, who intend to base themselves there.

 Sheikh Qasimi said,Sharjah was recently named World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO and the Emirate is widely known as the cultural capital of the Arab World. But this is no coincidence. Reading and literacy are the beating heart of Sharjah, and we have launched countless initiatives designed to introduce as many people as possible to the wonder of books. Sharjah Publishing City reflects our ambitions to support the publishing industry, engage with the world, and to become a cultural beacon in the region.”

 Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, stated, The launch of Sharjah Publishing City is an extremely significant development in the publishing world, one which will have a very positive impact both locally and globally. We have been overwhelmed with the response from publishers, and other companies from within the publishing ecosystem, who are excited by the City’s unique proposition and see it as the perfect vantage point to access new markets. I was delighted to welcome His Highness and an audience of international publishers to witness the unveiling of the facility today and I look forward to seeing what the future brings.”

 John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Content Group, said, I have been going to the Sharjah Book Fair and the area for years and always expressed my confidence in the Sharjah Book Authority and the royal family to deliver on their commitment to the Publishing City Program. The opportunity to distribute content close to these regional markets is key, since speed is always a consideration when shipping from the US or UK,” said Ingram.

 According to Shawn Morin, Ingram Content’s chief executive officer and president, We are seriously considering the establishment of a Lightning Source print facility in Sharjah Publishing City. This is an opportunity to reach the Middle East, African and Asian marketplace. Along with our reliable partners in Sharjah, we share the support of a global exchange and the desire to help content reach readers around the world.”

 For more details on Sharjah Book Authority, visit www.sba.gov.ae

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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