Monday, July 26, 2004

Syrian Publishing

The weakness of the Arab publishing industry is often used as a sign of intellectual weakness in the Arab world as a whole. Given the historical importance of learning an education in Islamic culture, however, I haven't been able to figure out the reasons behind the figures. Midhat Abrahram, however, has an essay on the state of the Syrian book trade which puts the current situation in context. During the 20th century, the infrastructure hasn't been there in terms of paper production or printing presses to publish large numbers of books cheaply. This links up with the economic conditions, where people can't afford to buy books, thus - and here I extrapolate - there exists a vicious cycle where the high cost of books keeps demand down, which in turn means there's little economic incentive to develop a better infrastructure in the industry that would help bring costs down. This suggests that the problem with the spread of ideas in the Arab world needs to have an economic as well as ideological and/or political solution.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home