RIYADH: The Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) today announced the launch of a book publishing company designed to meet the market needs of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The new venture, Raff Publishing, will embrace digital technologies, explore new formats and adopt innovative business models which support SRMG’s reputation as a leading source of audience-centric content and information in the region.
Raff Publishing, which has a major presence at the Riyadh International Book Fair (1–10 October, 2021), aims to become MENA’s most forward-looking publishing house in a global industry currently valued at US$92.68bn, and forecast to reach US$104.21bn in 2025. The new publishing house will utilize pioneering business models and embrace new digital formats and publishing technologies, including print-on-demand, e-books and audiobooks. While the global publishing market is predicted to grow at a three per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, e-books are expected to reach 11.7 per cent CAGR, with audiobooks achieving even stronger growth at 24.4 per cent CAGR, offering significant commercial opportunities for the Group.
“It’s time for the MENA publishing industry to evolve to meet the content demands of a technologically advanced population in Saudi Arabia and across the region,” said Jomana Al-Rashid, CEO of SRMG. “With the launch of Manga Al Arabiya, we witnessed a massive turnout of young Arab talent with creative ideas, ready manuscripts and unique perspectives, and realized that we only need to provide an outlet for this talent to flourish,” added Al-Rashid. “With Raff Publishing, we are committed to developing talent, broadening audience reach with a focus on popular genres to meet existing demand, and to creating new markets through diverse formats, on-demand publishing and intelligent use of data and modelling to inform our business strategies.”
The Group believes it will deliver significant returns by tapping into new audiences, building avenues for consumption, and meeting the demand for Arabic content—including for international best-selling titles across fiction and non-fiction genres.
In line with SRMG’s commitment to enrich Arabic content and foster a culture of reading, Raff Publishing will publish MENA authors with compelling stories, and unique insights enabling it to acquire a roster of the Arab World’s greatest writers and literary classics.
Haifa Al-Jedea, Managing Director of SRMG Think, said: “With the launch of Raff Publishing, we will actively seek out new authors from across the Arabic-speaking world. We aim to publish books that will reach the full range of regional audiences who are hungry to hear stories they can relate to and, most importantly, feel represented by. We know there is an unmet appetite for quality regional content, and we will seek to discover, develop and publish new authors—poets and novelists, children’s authors, essayists, thought leaders and analysts—increasing the opportunities for MENA voices to be heard.”
To enhance the regional audience’s access to global-best sellers and enrich Arabic content in the region, Raff Publishing has established extensive relationships and arrangements with international publishing houses and authors specializing in genres that are in high-demand but not widely available in the region. These include, Penguin Random House, the largest trade book publisher in the world; John Wiley & Sons, respected publisher of scholarly and scientific works, as well as the bestselling For Dummies books; Abrams, publisher of critically acclaimed and bestselling works; and The MIT Press one of the most distinguished university presses in the world. Raff Publishing is also engaging with global best-selling authors in order to publish their titles in Arabic, including the famous Max Einstein series by renowned author James Patterson,
The first titles from Raff Publishing are expected to be available online and through regional bookstores early in 2022.
With an expanding network of outlets, SRMG’s new growth strategy covers five business verticals: SRMG Media: Digital Platforms, Podcasts and Multimedia; SRMG International: International Investments and Partnerships; SRMG Think, providing unique viewpoints on local, regional and global topics by enhancing existing capabilities and venturing into two new businesses, including Raff Publishing, that complete, complement and enhance the Group’s current offering; SRMG X: Events, Conferences and Exhibitions; and SRMG Labs: Innovation, Incubation, and Training.
Driven by a newly appointed leadership team, and listed on the Tawadul stock exchange in Riyadh, SRMG is focused on delivering original, exclusive and premium content to consumers through new digital and social platforms, as well as strengthening its cable and satellite reach. The recently announced growth strategy leverages the Group’s data and technology strengths to develop new products and services, enhance monetization capabilities and diversify revenue streams.
Raff Publishing is at Riyadh International Book Fair, stand I-01.The Fair runs from 1 – 10 October 2021 at Riyadh Front.