April 1, 2024

Penguin Publishing Leap into the Arab Literary Landscape: Fact or Fiction?

Penguin Publishing Fact or Fiction?

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The Arab and Saudi publishing communities were surprised by the sudden emergence of social media accounts claiming to be branches of the esteemed Penguin Publishing in the Arab world. The intrigue deepened when the Saudi Arabian account on Instagram confirmed, upon contact, that it had acquired the Penguin franchise in Saudi Arabia from Penguin Iraq, which allegedly holds the franchise rights for the Arab world.

Fact of Fiction?

Fact of Fiction?

This development raises serious questions, as it seems highly unlikely that Penguin would undertake such a significant expansion into the Arab publishing sector, with branches in Saudi Arabia and potentially beyond, without a major announcement. The Saudi Arabian publishing industry, in particular, is witnessing rapid growth and acceleration, making it a fertile ground for international partnerships and investments. Typically, ventures of this scale are carried out in collaboration with specialized bodies, such as the Saudi Ministry of Culture and the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission, to ensure regulatory compliance and strategic alignment.

However, a thorough review of Penguin’s official announcements reveals no mention of such an investment or the establishment of these purported branches. The only collaboration that comes close is a translation rights partnership between Penguin India and the Emirati publishing group Kalimat.

Fact or Fiction?

Fact or Fiction?

Moreover, the situation extends beyond mere unexpected appearances of social media accounts. Observers of these accounts will note they are actively engaging in efforts to attract investments, presenting themselves as representatives of Penguin UK in the Arab world, making announcements regarding the translation into Arabic and the publication of several Penguin releases, and entering into agreements with audiobook applications to sell and distribute audio rights for books published by Penguin UK, such as with the Arab audiobook app, Iqraaly.

This situation raises questions about the legitimacy of these social media accounts and the nature of Penguin’s operations within the Arab publishing market, underscoring the need for clarity and official confirmation from Penguin’s headquarters.

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