Arab, Western Publishers Have a Responsibility to Egypt

In Growth Markets by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka For obvious reasons, if you want customer service this week from Kotobarabia, Egypt’s predominant e-book store, you’re out of luck. The lifting of censorship will bring a flood of new books, but it’s up to Arab and Western publishers to ensure there’s a pluralism of views. Ramy Habeeb, founder and CEO of Kotobarabia, who spoke to us from …

Should Extremist Views Be Available to Readers in Egypt?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Now that Egypt is close to eliminating censorship and opening its citizenry to a plentitude of political and religious views, the question arises of whether or not it is appropriate to have books with the most extreme views on sale in bookshops. In today’s lead story, Ramy Habeeb argues against censorship, saying that all points-of-view should be …

Are Graphic Novels and Comics More Dangerous than Prose Novels?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s lead story looks at how graphic novelists are pushing boundaries and challenging taboos in the Middle East. In one case, that of Magdy El Shafee’s groundbreaking Metro, the Egyptian courts objected to its depiction of corruption and criminality, fined the author and publisher, and had the book pulled from store shelves. Surely, this is not an …

Does Literature Still Have the Power to Irritate Powers-that-be?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In today’s lead story Daniel Kalder writes about Russia’s Ad Marginem Press, a “underground” publisher of controversial and politically provocative works of fiction and nonfiction. Ad Marginem publisher Alexander Ivanov says the press may have something of an advantage in attracting an audience, in so far as “literature [in Russia] may still -– as it did in …

Frankfurt Preview: Director Juergen Boos Discusses Economy, Rights, China

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka “If you’re talking about an economic crisis, then you have to talk about an economic crisis hitting American and UK publishers alone,” said Frankfurt Book Fair director Juergen Boos on the eve of the opening of this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. “Latin America has already come back from its economic crisis, which it experienced ten years ago, …

Saving Face

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

Editorial by Edward Nawotka Ever since the controversy surrounding the appearance of Chinese dissidents Bei Ling (貝嶺) and Dai Qing (戴晴) at the symposium “China and the World – Perceptions and Realities” last month, the media has pilloried the Frankfurt Book Fair, suggesting that the organization is compromising its values and support of free speech. What is disheartening to observe …

Bonus Material: Stats, Video and Images from the BIBF

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka The keynote speech of the Beijing International Publishing Forum (discussed in our lead article) was delivered by Wu Shulin, vice-minister for the General Administration for Press and Publications (GAPP). He cited numerous figures — as documented by Emma House, the UK Publishing Association’s International Director — which give a picture of the current state of Chinese publishing. …