symposium on “the reality and future of the book and publishing industry in egypt”

Cairo - Egypt | Wednesday, March 06, 2024:

Participants in the symposium "The Reality and Future of the Book and Publishing Industry in Egypt", organized by the "Kemet Boutros Ghali Foundation for Peace and Knowledge" at the Diplomatic Club, confirmed that Egypt is the first in the Arab world in the field of publishing, authorship and culture.

The participants in the symposium, which was moderated by the Executive Director of the Foundation, Ambassador Laila Bahaa El-Din, noted that the "Cairo International Book Fair" is still the most important in the Arab region, especially because it is organized in the great city of "Cairo", and it amazes everyone every year with the heavy turnout of the public who are keen to visit it regardless of the circumstances.

In this context, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the "Boutros Ghali" Foundation, Mamdouh Abbas, said that the book and publishing industry is one of the oldest cultural industries that has settled and settled in Egypt. He added that since the first quarter of the 19th century, book printing and publishing has become an established industry in Egypt. This industry has gone through several stages, sometimes being independent, sometimes under the control of the state, and sometimes private and government publishing houses shared the burdens of the industry.
He added that Egypt has also known important experiences in establishing publishing cooperatives, and that we have had an Egyptian Publishers Union for several years, recalling that our country knew the first book fair at the hands of Dr. Sohair Al-Qalamawy and Dr. Tharwat Okasha in 1969, this exhibition that is still ongoing to this day and is an appropriate means to support the book and publishing industry.

He added that after the rapid political, economic and technical changes, many questions are raised about the reality of the book and publishing industry and its future, and the changes in the topics that were published between yesterday and today, and the best-selling books today and the relationship of that to the importance of those books.

He also wondered about the impact of technological progress and the information and communications revolution on publishing and the speed of interaction and benefit of Egyptian publishers from digital publishing, in addition to the problems of piracy, copyright and intellectual property rights, and the impact of the economic crisis on the book and publishing industry.

For his part, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of "Dar Al-Shorouk", Engineer Ibrahim Al-Moallem, stressed that books and publishing are the key and foundation of culture, as cultural creative industries are the most acceptable and influential in building the human being who is the foundation and goal of development.
He explained that creative industries are an important factor in the progress of countries and societies because of their connection to human development, highlighting the importance of respecting and protecting intellectual property rights so that this industry can continue.

He stressed the need to revive art, music, poetry and films and sponsor them with laws to confront the attack on intellectual property, recalling that creative industries, software and publishing are among Egypt's oldest exports throughout the ages, as we exported this industry to Indonesia in the East and Nigeria in the West, and we were the first to enter the world of publishing.

He pointed out that the city of Alexandria was considered the second capital of the book in the world due to the history of its library, which is a beacon of culture, calling for reviving the proposal that the Bride of the Mediterranean be the "central creativity in the world" as previously proposed in appreciation of the greatness of the Library of Alexandria, adding "This proposal that was previously proposed and did not see the light indicates that we in Egypt can do a lot in the field of culture."

He noted that the largest number of books published in Egypt are university books, whether governmental or non-governmental, and are witnessing development year after year, recalling that Egyptian textbooks and curricula were taught in most Arab countries.
He pointed out that the world is witnessing cultural conflicts that have multiplied in recent years, in addition to the tremendous development and change that we are experiencing today; there are electronic, paper and audio books, stressing the importance of publishing books in Arabic and not in colloquial language, as Naguib Mahfouz believed in, so that we can reach the Arab reader and not limit ourselves to the Egyptian reader only.
Engineer Ibrahim Al-Moallem warned that if we want to advance and progress, we must reduce the distance between Arabic and colloquial language, appreciating at the same time the efforts of the Egyptian state to confront the counterfeiting movement that harms this field.
For his part, Professor of Public Policy at the American University in Cairo, Dr. Ibrahim Awad, said that creative and cultural industries are among the most important industries in any country that wants or seeks to achieve progress and development, and explained that culture shapes the mind of nations, and Egypt is capable of doing a lot in this field, as it can shape the mind of the reader in the Arab region, as it used to influence it in the past.
A group of public, political, diplomatic and cultural figures participated in the symposium "The Reality and Future of the Book and Publishing Industry in Egypt", which was held yesterday evening, Wednesday, at the Diplomatic Club.