Arab Publishing in Troubled Times
First published in When The Library Was Stolen, on the Private Archive of Abd Al-Rahman Munif , Fehras Publishing Practices, 2017
The world of Arabic publishing, comprising various national and regional markets, is organized according to dynamics of hegemony and dependence so that the countries of the Maghreb depend on publishing in the Arab East, which in turn dominates the markets of the former. The markets of the Arab East, meanwhile, remain practically impenetrable, accessible to publishers in the Maghreb only through collaborations with their counterparts in the Arab East. If we consider the numbers, the Arab East boasts a much greater number of publishers compared to the Maghreb. What distinguishes Arabic publishing from the industry in the West is that, on the one hand, there is no major capitalistic drive and, on the other, there are many small-scale publishing houses. Only a handful of publishers, from Morocco to Kuwait, manage to cover the entirety of the Arab, or Islamic, market. Moreover, there are only a few big distribution companies that cover the entire Arab region, a fact which further limits the visibility and exposure of many publications. F.M.