Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Penguin Goes to the Middle East

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Penguin will join with a Egypt-based publisher to bring Penguin Classics to Arabic-speaking countries.

From the story...

A list of titles—which includes famous European novels such as Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and Miguel de Cervantes's "Don Quixote," as well as some local Arabic classics—will start rolling out to bookstores across the Arab world in the first half of 2011.

Penguin and its Cairo-based partner, publisher Dar El Shorouk, will split the proceeds from the sales.

Ibrahim El Moallem, chairman of Dar El Shorouk, says the deal will make many of the classic Western titles, such as Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," easily obtainable in up-to-date Arabic translations for the first time.

"In Egypt, readership is rising, especially among the younger generation," says Mr. El Moallem, whose publishing house distributes books to all the countries of the Arab world, including those that are known to censor literary materials. Mr. El Moallem said that presenting the Penguin library as a series of the world's greatest books may help trump the censorship issue.

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