Has the star fallen from the book?

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One of the most famous publishing houses based in London (Dar Al-Saqi) has announced its withdrawal from the honor of serving the Arab cultural scene, after having to submit to the challenges that “some” publishing houses are facing. Dar Al-Saqi, which was a destination for all who visited the capital of fog, appears to have faced financial hardship and has joined other Arab and foreign houses that have decided to reduce their operations or say goodbye forever take from the cultural field. Al-Rubaiaan Bookstore in Kuwait did the same thing when its owner, Yahya Al-Rubaiaan, decided to liquidate his library after the weakening of his sales, by selling the book at a price of a quarter of a Kuwaiti dinar ( less than one US) to sell. dollar), while its cost was one dinar (about 3 dollars). In the language of numbers, he decided to sell his books at a huge loss, until the Amiri Diwan in Kuwait took a historic position to support the bookselling icon and the first director of the Kuwait International Book Fair in 1975, by generous support to continue. the message of spreading knowledge. I was happy when I saw the library standing at the Kuwait International Book Fair (the forty-fifth), as the owner carried the banner of knowledge dissemination, rightly considered one of the first generations to promote the book.

As a person specialized in the business world, I cannot succumb to market data. In every industry there is fierce competition that increases and decreases in pace, and there are practices outside the ethical framework in competition, and there is also an internal challenge in the institutions themselves that may not realize the prospects of changing the idea of the “business model”. A similar incident occurred in Kuwait when the Virgin (English) store decided to open the largest bookstore, perhaps in the history of Kuwait, in the heart of a commercial mall and in a very prominent and expensive location, but after years he seemed to realize, with his commercial sense, that a store of this size could not continue to sell only books. He began by introducing competing electronic products and other accessories to books and their worlds (such as stationery and the like) in an effort to continue.

The bottom line is that publishers are already suffering, but the commitment of large numbers of them to attend book fairs in various capitals of the Arab world is proof that there are those who buy, sell and care about the book. book, which was and still is the discrete source of knowledge. Our problem is that we do not distinguish between the book in its paper and electronic forms, so whatever its form, in the end it is a book. Electronic and stolen books (in PDF copies) have already been subtracted from the share of traditional book sales, so the reader no longer has the desire or ability to wait for the arrival of an important book that has become famous or by a celebrity is not recommended. in society or social media. This calls us to the need to renew book images and find a profitable and fair comparison for publishing houses that guarantees the availability of electronic books in addition to paper books.

Moreover, in my opinion, the problem lies in the further withdrawal of public schools from their educational role, in order to “love” millions of Arabs with the book. And I specifically mean the government, because most Arabs study there. Take, for example, a rich country like Kuwait, in which only 18 percent of citizens (about 70,000) study in private schools. .

Publishers also need to rethink the creativity of the design, the attractiveness of the covers and above all the quality of the content and raise the ceiling of its creativity. It is not reasonable to accept a low book and deprive the reader of beautiful books. Publishing houses should also take into account the temporal element or the timing of the book and intensify their advertising and marketing campaigns to take advantage of the momentum of publication, and not as usual wait for exhibitions to exchange books with their peers. The reader wants the book to reach him anywhere. Therefore, I suggest that an Arab government institution take a big initiative, such as offering a company that does not aim for excessive profits, but guarantees that the book will be available to every Arab in all countries of the world at reasonable prices and for ‘ will reach an appropriate period. of time, so that the publishing market can revive again.

Personally, I consider the book a commodity, and every commodity must be carefully monitored, and we understand the reasons for its lack of distribution to try to bridge the gap between the book and its audience. The book will remain immortal and an authentic source of knowledge, no matter how many information platforms are on the Internet, because it contains a great effort, and in the end it is a product of the scientist, the writer, the poet and the owner of biographies full of gifts, successes and pitfalls that come to us on a plate of gold. And above all, a book is a source of pleasure before it is a source of benefit. Al-Jahiz was right when he said, “If you look at the book, it will prolong your enjoyment, sharpen your character, expand your tongue, present your statement and make your words luxurious..and give you the honor of the mean . people.” The book, whatever its form, will remain immortal in the air of knowledge, pleasure, surprise and interest.

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