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Day Two of Abu Dhabi Publishing Forum Discusses Industry’s Most Pressing Issues

The second edition of the Abu Dhabi Publishing Forum (ADPF) continued in Abu Dhabi for its second day under the theme “The Future of Digital Publishing: Technologies and Challenges – the Global Experience”. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the forum’s sessions attracted experts from 28 countries worldwide.

Day two’s sessions discussed the most pressing matters in the e-publishing industry. The first session, moderated by Siham Al Hosani, Director of Digital Publishing at DCT – Abu Dhabi (UAE), discussed the role of the Audio Publishers Association. Michelle Cobb, Executive Director, Audio Publishers Association (USA) spoke about the support the Association has provided to the industry since its inception in 1986 in raising awareness about the audio book industry and how the Association engages with players and conducts research. Cobb discussed publishing rates from the industry over the past five years, as well as discussing the audio book industry’s target audience, age groups, devices used, and habits of listening to audio books. She also touched upon the opportunities to expand the industry’s market share.

The second session titled “Latest Innovations In Supporting Digital and Audio Books” included a panel discussion about the latest technologies utilised in the industry, such as smart audio systems and e-reader technologies. The panel also discussed future technologies in this domain. The session was moderated by Aurora Humarán, President of the Board of Directors, International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (Argentina). The panel included Eduardo Hugman, writer on new publishing technologies (Spain); Andrea Paluta, Founder and Partner, Partners of Wherever (Italy); Paul Horbaczewskiego, President of Arta Tech (Poland); and Dr. Kami Kawa, International Teaching Department Chair, Tokai University, Head of the Arabic-Japanese group for translation, culture and media (Japan).

The third session “Piracy and Copyrights in Publishing Digital and Audio Books” was moderated by Salah Sabaro, CEO, Neelwafurat.com. The panel included Ammar Mardawi, Country Manager, Storytel Arabia (Jordan); Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Director of the Publishing Department at DCT – Abu Dhabi; Ahmed Weld Selami, President of the Mauritanian Union for Publishing and Distribution; Ghanem Al Anzi, writer and social media activist; and Ahmed Ruwaihel, Founder, Kitab Sawti (Egypt). Participants discussed several topics related to piracy and protecting intellectual property against illegal distribution online, transferring copyrights from publishing houses to audio book platforms; publishing houses’ means of establishing their own audio books platforms or transferring rights to specialised platforms; and laws in the region to protect audio and digital books.


The fourth session “Virtual Book Clubs” highlighted several book club initiatives. The session was moderated by Alia Al-Mannai from Sama Dubai TV, and included speakers Shaad Alrawi, writer; Saleh Al Yarobi, writer; Rola Al Mzainy, Founder, Esteraht Sayedat book club; and Ghaith Hassan, Founder, Mosaic Virtual Reading Club.

The last session “The Role of Advertising Plays in Relation to Digital and Audio Books” was moderated by Abdullah Alkhorayef, social media activist. The panelists included Yan Kun, Diplomat and Publishing Media Director, Tomorrow Publishing (China); Michael Garin, CEO, Image Nation; and Anas Allahbi, CEO, Paper Samwich (KSA). The panel discussed topics such as audio books recording revenues, and whether they are sufficient to promote the industry, the impact of social media channels on publishing digital and audio books, and attracting advertisers to digital and audio book platforms.

Technical Exhibition

The accompanying technical exhibition, held on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Publishing Forum, continued to attract visitors and participants. The exhibition showcased the latest publishing technologies, as well as a reading robot that was touring the halls.

Also on display were the latest developments in the digital and audio publishing industry, along with new book technologies that were on display at the exhibition to support the industry and encourage members of society to read.

A number of local companies and publishing houses are taking part in the exhibition at the UAE Publishers’ Corner, in addition to a number of government entities and international exhibitors that are leading the way in book digitisation.

The exhibition also includes a fully-equipped studio allowing visitors to try converting their printed books into audio books, as well as the steps involved in the process. Children also have a share in the exhibition, where a dedicated booth introduces them to the latest technologies, such as educational videos.

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