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Young Saudi Entrepreneurs Invest in Online Book Shops

Young Saudi Entrepreneurs Invest in Online Book Shops

Wednesday, 22 June, 2022 - 07:45
File photo: Men examine a book during a book fair in Riyadh. REUTERS/ Faisal Al Nasser.

Figures of the Saudi culture ministry on reading and book consumption have encouraged local entrepreneurs to bet on the vivacity of the book market and the remarkable turnout, despite what is being said about a lower enthusiasm for reading driven by the growth of new digital communication means and contents.

According to a report by the ministry, over 25 percent of Saudis bought or read one book online in 2020, and the local book fairs have seen a growing and promising turnout from people hoping to work in this market.

Figures in general indicate that the Saudi community is leaning towards reading, and online book shopping, which motivated Saudi young man Nasser al-Moussa to open his own online book shop ‘Warrakoun’. The shop features 150,000 books, offers worldwide delivery and several payment methods including installment.

His website sees over 1.5 million visits monthly, out of which 90 percent are from Saudi Arabia.

Nasser al-Moussa, who’s partaking in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah Book Fair, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We participate to introduce our brand. we displayed over 550 bestseller books, and we bet on the fair’s success. The turnout was much better than we expected.”

Speaking about the horizons of online bookstores in Saudi Arabia, and the aspirations and the challenges facing the field, al-Mousa said: “Online stores, libraries, and even publishers in Saudi Arabia face a host of challenges such as the increasing prices of paper due to the skyrocketing shipping costs.”

“These prices force publishers, and libraries to raise the prices of books, which has contributed to lower demand.”

Among the other challenges are low quality books which are usually sold for lower prices. “This problem is unfortunately growing across the Arab world, and Saudi Arabia,” said al-Mousa.

“But despite all these challenges, we are certain that Arabs and Saudis will keep reading. We even expect a growing demand driven by the flourishing reading culture in the Arab region, mostly in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

For his part, Ahmed Abdul Fattah from the Madarat Publishing House, believes that expanding book fairs in Saudi Arabia is a great opportunity to encourage promising book selling projects. He also notes that choosing the right titles and topics could help avoid unnecessary costs and ensure the stability and continuation of the projects.

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