Sharjah Publishing City opens

Sharjah Publishing City opens

The Sharjah Publishing City, intended to become a new publishing hub in the Middle East, is now officially open. 

The 19,000 sqm, two-story complex was opened this week, just ahead of the launch of the Sharjah International Book Fair today (1st November).

According to the Sharjah Book Authority, the facility will provide tenants with the opportunity to capitalise on tax-free privileges, while giving them strategic access to the Middle Eastern, Asian, European and African markets. It is also "ideally situated for import and export", according to SBA, taking into account major international airports and sea ports on two different coasts.

Designed to house international publishing houses, organisations and institutions, publishing service providers, distributors and printers in over 400 individual office spaces, there are two UK companies signed up and moving in at this early stage: independent publisher Austin Macauley and Liberty Education.

The Sharjah Book Authority's chairman, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, said it had been "overwhelmed" by the response from the publishers, who he said appreciated the City's "unique proposition" as "the perfect vantage point to access new markets".

US-based company Ingram, through its Lightning Source LLC operating company, is in discussions with the Sharjah Book Authority to have a presence in Sharjah Publishing City as a print on demand participant, too. Chairman John Ingram said: “The opportunity to distribute content close to these regional markets is key, since speed is always a consideration when shipping from the US or UK."

Sharjah Publishing City will also become the new headquarters for the Sharjah Book Authority, alongside a number of the UAE’s official publishing organisations, including: the Emirates Publishers Association, Emirates Writers Union, Arab Writers Union, Children’s Book Association and the Emirates Library Association and Information.

Sharjah's ruler, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, commented: “Sharjah was recently named World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO and the Emirate is widely known as the cultural capital of the Arab World. But this is no coincidence. Reading and literacy are the beating heart of Sharjah, and we have launched countless initiatives designed to introduce as many people as possible to the wonder of books. Sharjah Publishing City reflects our ambitions to support the publishing industry, engage with the world, and to become a cultural beacon in the region.”