Is POD a Possible Answer to Book Distribution Barriers?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka


In today’s lead story we cover the launch of Abu Dhabi Distribution, a new pan-Arab book distribution company opened by the organization responsible for running the Abu Dhabi International Book Festival (ADIBF). Distribution has long been a problem for book publishers in the Arabic-speaking region, with 80% books only available within a five kilometer radius of the publishing house or otherwise at one of the many book fairs (which function more like book bazaars) in the region. (Typically, just top 10% of authors tend to be available everywhere, while the bottom 10% are only available in the author’s home.)

One possible solution is to implement the use of print-on-demand technology. By setting up a print-on-demand facility in major markets, a regional distributor — such as the one started in Abu Dhabi — could potential circumvent shipping issues and customs delays. A digital POD file might be edited to suit the different political and cultural sensitivities of a given country.

Would this work for the Arabic-language region? (Ramy Habeeb, proprietor of Kotobarabia thinks it might. He is also speaking at the ADIBF). Is it a solution for Africa, where book distribution is also a problem?

Tell us what you think in the comments below and via Twitter using hashtag #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.