With a prominent African presence...The Sharjah Publishers Conference discusses industry challenges

Sharjah - Heba Abdelsattar , Tuesday 7 Nov 2023

African countries made a major showing at Sharjah's 13th Annual Publishers Conference, which is held annually in conjunction with the Sharjah International Book Fair.

The Sharjah Publishers Conference
The Sharjah Publishers Conference


The conference brings together publishing professionals from 106 countries, this year including a wave of new publishers from 10 African countries (Benin, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Burkina Faso, Zaire, Malawi, Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Zimbabwe, and Zambia).

The 13th Annual Publishers Conference hosted 42 speakers and experts, including Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al-Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Book Authority; Yoon Chul Ho, President of the Korean Publishers Association; Núria Cabutí Brull, CEO of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial; Ian Chapman, CEO & Publisher of Simon & Schuster UK & International; and Jo Henry, Managing Director of BookBrunch. 

In her speech during the opening of the conference; Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Book Authority, stressed that publishing stands at the gates of history, between tradition and innovation, and must restore the vital role it has played over centuries through adaptation to the rapid changes of our time.  

During the conference, 31 roundtables were organized to discuss the evolving landscape of digital publishing, the promotion of literary diversity, and industry resilience.

Conference attendees also examined the characteristics of the American, Korean, Chinese, Indian, and African markets, how they can be penetrated to achieve good sales, and strategies for success in Arab markets.  

Emerging markets for graphic novels, challenges and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence in the publishing industry, augmented reality, and the print-on-demand model were also explored.  

The conference also provided an opportunity for publishers to negotiate buying and selling rights and translation agreements.

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