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Friday, January 20, 2006

On the Crisis of the "Arab Book"

Here's something that made me stop and think;
الكتاب العربي.. متى تنتهي أزماته؟

أسباب أزمة الكتاب العربي-17% من إنتاج الكتاب بالعالم العربي وفق تقرير التنمية البشرية ينحصر في الكتب الدينية والتراثية وهي كتب في الغالب لا تحتاج لأي مجهود فكر
"The reasons of the demise of the 'Arab Book'- 17% of the books produced in the Arab world fall under the category of religious or cultural genres that don't require any mental effort from the reader."

Before the radicals of you jump and choke me for quoting something that says religious books don't require much thought, let me point out that the article doesn't refer to books on the philosophy behind religion, but rather, according the article, "repetitive publications of the same ideas."

The article provides a rather saddening example- Sharja's International Book Festival 2005 saw the "participation" of 707 Arab publication agencies, with only 2100 new titles. That's depressing, especially when you keep in mind that our wonderful Arab world has a combined population of 300 million people (Source:Wikipedia). A best selling book usually gets around 5,000 prints in total. Comparitively, Israel, with a population of 7 million people, produces 13 thousand new titles a year.

The article also states that only %10 of the publications were about the applied sciences, and that barely %8 of the publications were about theoritcal sciences. "Most" of the books that were in the Festival(and because these were compared with religious and cultural books at 17%, I'm guessing that they probably make up over 20% of publications) are- *drumroll*- books about horoscopes, songs, and "love". Yeeeeeeeeee!

What made me laugh is what the article relates an recent "point of discussion". In typical Arabian conspiracy theorist style, Arab publishers, in regards to questioning about the recent trend of plagiarizing Western texts into Arabic, have been blaming western copy righters for "stealing" the ideas of third world countries. Of course, with true Arab chauvinism, they had to somehow stick the glory that was Al-Andalus into the formula *laugh*. Pathetic. Don't you just love us?

I think I'm depressed.

Read all of the article here.

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