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

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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