Global Digital Book Retailer Rakuten Kobo to Adopt Arabic Language in 2022

During International Conference of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries, Canadian digital and audio book company announces Arabic will be primary browsing language this year

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 23 May 2022: Rakuten Kobo, the global eBook brand, has announced it will adopt Arabic as a primary browsing language for users during the last quarter of 2022. 

Based in Ontario, Canada, Rakuten Kobo is the second largest eReader brand in the world, hosting 7 million titles in 76 languages, delivering eBooks to 190 countries and running local operations in 25 countries.

The announcement was made by Michael Tamblyn, the company’s CEO, during a keynote speech at the International Conference of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), as part of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022.

Tamblyn said Rakuten Kobo aims to enhance the eBook sales sector in the region and create a thriving, wide-scale digital market for the publication of books.

He also discussed ways to start an independent digital market using eBook conversions, aggregation and distribution, self-publishing, audiobook production and global distribution.

He said: “In smaller and emerging markets, planning, policy, industry cooperation and government support can make a big difference. Spain is an example – a government programme supported 100 percent of the cost of digital conversion and metadata creation for thousands of Spanish titles.”

He called for publishers to strengthen their supply chains and strive to improve their work while benefiting from different types of support, especially government, which is necessary to achieve success in the sector. 

Tamblyn also discussed Rakuten Kobo’s position, and the policies it pursues to open and discover new successful markets for eBook sales, as well as the importance and necessity of government support for eBook platforms.