Rights Edition: Abu Dhabi Opens Its ‘Spotlight on Rights’

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Abu Dhabi’s ‘Spotlight on Rights’ has provided some US$500,000 in translation publication and digital-conversion support.

On the exhibition floor at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See: Our frequently updating coverage of the 2022 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Al Tunaiji: ‘To Promote Respect for IP Rights’
As anticipation builds this weekend toward Monday’s (May 23) opening of the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, the producing body—the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre—has today (May 20) announced the opening of registration for one of this big book fair’s most influential programs, the “Spotlight on Rights.”

This is a program that offers grants of up to 14,700 dirhams (US$4,002) for printed books translated into or from Arabic. In addition, there are handsome offers for relevant print content being converted to ebooks and audiobooks.

Indeed, our Rights Edition readers today will be particularly aware of how valuable a program this is when we report that since 2009, the Spotlight on Rights has published more than 900 books with more than 100 publishers in children’s books, history, science, and social sciences. Many of those books have gone on to be translated into other international languages.

By 2020, the Spotlight on Rights had distributed grants totally 1,836,000 dirhams (US$499,918).

Don’t rush past that figure. In US currency, this is just under half-a-million dollars going to the translation of literature into and out of Arabic, and for the production of such literature in digital formats. This is no token program that perhaps picks up a part of a translator’s fee, it’s a substantial investment, as directed by the Arabic Language Centre chief,  Dr. Ali Bin Tamim.

In last year’s edition of Spotlight on Rights, the program supported, 1042 titles with grants totaling 1.4 million dirhams (US$653,487) in support of 138 books in print, 41 audiobooks, and 123 ebooks.

‘Financial and Professional Support to Publishers’

In a prepared statement, Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji—currently the acting director of the of the Arabic Language Center and director of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair—makes an interesting and encouraging note for many publishers: An element of the Spotlight on Rights program has to do with the importance of protecting copyright and blocking piracy.

Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji

Al Tunaiji is quoted, saying, “With this program, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre seeks to promote respect for intellectual property rights in the Arab world.

“It encourages knowledge exchange between Arab and international publishing houses and works tirelessly to enrich Arabic content by offering financial and professional support to publishers and encouraging the translation of content to and from Arabic.”

In a simple guide to what’s available:

  • The grants offered by the program for a print book translated into or from Arabic range from AED 9,200 (US$2,505) to AED 14,700 (US$4,002)
  • The grants for conversion from printed works to ebooks are between AED 3,700 (US$1,007) and AED 7,400 (US$2,014)
  • Grants for conversion to audiobooks range from AED 5,500 (US$1,497) to AED 7,400 (US$2,014)

Registration is open “to all participating parties in ADIBF” this year, and you’ll find more about the program at its page on the book fair’s site.

On the exhibition floor at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson


Our special Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022 Show Magazine is here for your free download (PDF).

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here, and more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here. More from us on book fairs and trade shows in world publishing is here. More on translation is here, and more on Arabic in the publishing world is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the International Publishers Association. Our extended coverage of ADIBF 2022 is supported by the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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