SA startup to publish Arabic ebooks in deal with major regional online player

Snapplify, a service that transform PDFs into company branded mobile applications, has signed a deal with Kotobarabia, an online e-book store that specialises in Arabic content.

The deal with the South African-based startup has apparently been signed in a bid to make Kotobarabia’s content available to a wider audience. In part this is because it’s easier to make Snapplify’s mobile apps available to a wide range of devices and also because conventional e-publishing forms such as EPUB don’t deal well with Arabic text. According to director and co-founder of Kotobarabia Ramy Habeeb:

Snapplify’s platform is innovative because it is simple. Being a publisher from an emerging economy, it is difficult for me to comply with international standards such as EPUB, especially when EPUB does not comply with the standards of my language. As a result, digitally distributing my content on valuable e-real estate such as the iPad and other tablets is expensive, time-consuming and often impossible. Snapplify’s pdf-based platform solves those issues, and now my titles are available on the iPad.

Snapplify founder Wesley Lynch claims that his company’s service could become increasingly valuable to content producers, especially in Arab-speaking markets:

Emerging markets, due to the high preponderance of non-English speaking cultures, cannot easily distribute their content on the mobile platform, as international standards like EPUB, used in iBooks, do not support many foreign languages. As a result, there are large untapped markets in Arabic speaking communities.

Content owners can serve these markets by converting their catalogue to mobile apps at the click of a button, at no upfront cost, and distribution and monetisation is part of the deal with the tablet app store model.

Kotobarabia has been a client of Snapplify’s for some time now, along with US-based Kaboom Studios (best known for publishing the Peanuts comic strip).

Under Snapplify’s model, multiple publications can be placed in a single app. The company recently launched its Android platform at the London Book Fair.



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