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The next frontiers of publishing?

Under the heading of "There's always an opportunity somewhere if you look for it," there were two interesting pieces on publishing in the Guardian this week.

The first, in yesterday's edition, was about the search for more Arab writers. The story stemmed from yesterday's announcement at the Frankfurt Book Fair that British publisher Bloomsbury will be launching a new Arabic-language publishing house, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, in partnership with the state of Qatar.

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The group will be attempting to build on the global success of the bestselling novel "The Yacoubian Building" by Egyptian author Alaa Al-Aswany.

They will be marketing to both Western readers, who show a growing interest in learning about the Arab world through fiction, and the world's  206 million native speakers of Arabic (the fifth-most spoken language in the world.)

The second story, also emanating from Germany, is that, spurred by the global economic crisis, Karl Marx is back. "That, at least, is the verdict of publishers and bookshops in Germany who say that his works are flying off the shelves," writes Kate Connolly from Berlin.

The typical buyer, according to one German publishing executive, is a disillusioned young academic liberal.

"Bookshops around the country are reporting similar findings, saying that sales are up by 300%," writes Connelly (although she adds that, "The fact that they are not prepared to quote actual figures suggests the sales were never that high.")

At any rate, it's an interesting footnote in the world of book sales, although this one is perhaps best filed under a separate heading, maybe something along the lines of "If you wait long enough, everything comes back into style again...."


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