SHARJAH, 7th April, 2022 (WAM) — The 49th London Book Fair, where Sharjah is being honoured as “Market Focus”, brought together Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and David Taylor, Ingram SVP for Content Acquisition International, to discuss the future of the supply chain and print-on-demand services being showcased at Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) Free Zone, citing the example of Lightning Source Sharjah.
During a panel discussion titled “The Future of Book Supply”, Al Ameri emphasised that Sharjah has become the centre of the book industry in Asia and North Africa due to the farsightedness and directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who believes in the power of the written word and recognises the impact of culture in developing communities and building bridges between civilisations.
At the session moderated by Porter Anderson, from Publishing Perspectives, the SBA Chairman noted that Sharjah was the first city to bring about a radical transformation in the publishing sector by establishing the Sharjah Publishing (SPC) City Free Zone, a first-of-its-kind hub for publishing, printing, and allied businesses. The SBA Chairman pointed out that SPC Free Zone has created a unified platform for publishers to complete all translation, publishing, and distribution activities and provides world-class services and advanced infrastructure to assist publishers in overcoming any sector-related challenges.
Al Ameri pointed out that collaborating with Ingram to launch Lightning Source Sharjah was a fruitful journey that further exemplifies Sharjah’s pioneering role in expanding the book industry globally. Through the partnership, Ingram reached the Asian and African markets quicker and at lower costs through advanced print-on-demand services.
He said, “SPC Free Zone, where Ingram operates, benefits from the unique geographic location of Sharjah that connects Asia with Africa and other emerging markets, the global stature of the annual Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), and SIBF Publishers Conference, as well as the advanced and integrated infrastructure and solutions offered at the free zone including storage, logistics, and printing.”
David Taylor, Ingram SVP for Content Acquisition International, said, “Before working with Sharjah, it took us two to three weeks to deliver a title in the Asian or African markets. Today, it only takes two days. The print-on-demand service is more effective as it utilises the services and advanced infrastructure at SPC Free Zone.”
He pointed out that the biggest challenge facing publishers and what has been hindering the expansion of publishing markets globally are storage and shipping. “The advanced technologies at Lightning Source Sharjah have enabled us to sell books before printing them, which helps preserve resources and overcome shipping and storage challenges.”
The panel discussion was organised as part of Sharjah’s Market Focus programme at LBF 2022, which concludes today at Olympia London. The debate was attended by leading international publishers and cultural institutions.