Ahmed Al Ameri: Sharjah is a pioneer in radically transforming the knowledge and publishing sectors

Ahmed Al Ameri: Sharjah is a pioneer in radically transforming the knowledge and publishing sectors

Panel discussion at LBF 2022 highlights the journey and outcome of Lightning Source Sharjah and Ingram partnership in the global publishing sector

  • David Taylor: “The print-on-demand service is more effective as it utilises the services and advanced infrastructure at SPC Free Zone.”

Sharjah, April 07, 2022

The 49th London Book Fair, where Sharjah is being honoured as ‘Market Focus’, brought together HE 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 far-sighted vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. 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 shaping the development of communities and in 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 activities related to translation, publishing, and distribution, 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 has been able to reach the Asian and African markets at a quicker pace and at lower costs through advanced print-on-demand services.

He said: “SPC Free Zone and Lightning Source Sharjah are a testament to the nurturing and all-inclusive environment available in Sharjah that has been the driving force of the cultural movement in the region. 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.”

Al Ameri added: “Sharjah’s vision for SPC Free Zone and its efforts in providing print-on-demand solutions to publishers in the region and across the world, in addition to leading the book industry globally, is geared towards the sustainability of the publishing sector that is further enhanced by an environmentally-friendly business model.

For his part, David Taylor, Ingram SVP for Content Acquisition International, talked about Ingram’s partnership with SPC Free Zone, and underscored the renowned international status of Sharjah and its capabilities in overcoming the challenges facing the global publishing industry. He said: “Prior to working with Sharjah, it took us 2-3 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. He noted that the existence of a unique model like SPC Free Zone and print-on-demand services have helped provide books to readers around the world and advance the publishing environment. He said: “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.”

He concluded: “SPC Free Zone is capable of transforming the global academic learning process through innovative solutions that facilitate access to knowledge sources in the academic publishing markets worldwide while reduced printing costs are leading to lower book prices and preservation of resources.”

The panel discussion was organised as part of Sharjah’s Market Focus programme at LBF 2022, which concludes today (April 7) at Olympia London. The discussion was attended by leading international publishers and cultural institutions.


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