Home 5 Interviews 5 ‘Kitab Sawti’ of Sweden

‘Kitab Sawti’ of Sweden

by | Jun 13, 2017 | Interviews

Kitab Sawti is an audiobook company that offers Arabic speakers all over the world easy access to their favorite books in audio format, available in their smartphone anywhere at any time. The company believes that reading and literature is an essential part of society’s development and an ideal way to build bridges between cultures and generations. Kitab Sawti started as a project to help Syrian refugees in Swedish schools, during the process, the company noticed a global demand and decided to take on the challenge to build an Arabic audiobook market. Kitab Sawti is the world’s largest Arabic audiobook company that supports and inspires authors to create more high quality literature in Arabic.

Nasher interviewed Sebastian Bond, the CEO and Founder of Kitab Sawti during his attendance of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in which he was asked the following questions.Kitab Sawti is an audiobook company that offers Arabic speakers all over the world easy access to their favorite books in audio format, available in their smartphone anywhere at any time. The company believes that reading and literature is an essential part of society’s development and an ideal way to build bridges between cultures and generations. Kitab Sawti started as a project to help Syrian refugees in Swedish schools, during the process, the company noticed a global demand and decided to take on the challenge to build an Arabic audiobook market. Kitab Sawti is the world’s largest Arabic audiobook company that supports and inspires authors to create more high quality literature in Arabic. Nasher interviewed Sebastian Bond, the CEO and Founder of Kitab Sawti during his attendance of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in which he was asked the following questions.

 

1) When did you think of launching this project? And what influenced you to come up with the idea of “Kitab Sawti”?

The idea came to me when I was working for a Swedish audiobook company involved in providing educational tools for Swedish schools. As I was travelling around the country in my role, I came across many teachers who asked me for audiobooks in Arabic for Syrian refugees. Since last year, Arabic has become the second most commonly spoken language in Sweden as a result of the refugee crisis and it is an immense challenge to integrate child refugees into Swedish schools. The requests we were receiving from teachers made us look at the Arabic audiobook market closely and we quickly realised that it was extremely small to non-existent. My co-founder has built an audiobook platform for a Swedish media company before, so with this experience we thought that there was an opportunity to do something interesting and worthwhile. We’re a company that is 100% focused on the Arabic language and do audiobooks in Arabic only.

 

2) What are some of the most important publishing houses and authors that you have signed with?

We have so far signed with Saudi Arabian Obeikan Publishing, Egyptian Nahdet Misr Publishing Group, Qatari HBKU Press and Lebanese ASP and Difaf Publishing. We have also signed with a number of authors, including Elias Khouri, Saoud Al Sanousi, Waciny Laredj, Boutheina Al Issa, Dr. Ahmed Khalid Tawfiq and Ibrahim Nasrallah. We offer popular international titles, such as the Dan Brown series, Hunger Games Triology and ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ written by Stephen R. Covey, which is a regional best-seller.

 

3) Is there a specific genre of books you’re particularly interested in for the purpose of this project? Or are you open to all kinds of genres?

We are open to all genres and aim to cover every sphere, ranging from children’s books, to novels, to self-development books.

 

4) How many books are you planning to publish on your app? And how many do you already have?

At the moment we have hundreds of books in the apps and the plan is to publish thousands of great books. The important thing for us is to be able to offer the best experience for our users including the best books.

5) Do you think audio books encourage reading further in a digital age? In other words, do you think audio books could serve as a solution in an age where people are not finding the right setting/time to read?

Audiobooks is the fastest growing segment within publishing globally. In the U.S., Europe and Sweden, audiobooks are growing by 30% or 40% every year. I think that one main reason for this is digitalization, greater smartphone penetration and 3G and 4G increase, so these days it is increasingly easy for people to access reading anywhere and anytime they want. Society is so much faster today than it was 20 years ago. People want to be efficient and audiobooks are one way to derive entertainment and knowledge while also doing something else, such as cooking at home, driving, or travelling. Audiobooks can also encourage people who don’t have time to read or who have difficulties with processing text. If they are dyslexic, for example, or have a form of visual impairment, audiobooks can facilitate their access to literature. Audiobooks can also increase the engagement with literature of people who would never normally consider picking up a book for entertainment. There are statistics that show that people in the Middle East read less than in the U.S. I believe that audiobooks can improve this situation and can be effective tools to increase reading in general.

 

6) Are you generally looking to expand your operations?

We have an office in Egypt that complements our premises in Sweden. We chose Egypt because it is one of the largest cultural hubs in the Middle East and is a country where a lot of our authors and publishers are located. It made sense for us as a first step to establish an office in Cairo. Our future plans include opening up an office in the UAE.

Recent News

24Jul
Reading Crisis: 1 in 6 UK Adults Struggle to Read

Reading Crisis: 1 in 6 UK Adults Struggle to Read

Half of all adults in the UK don’t read regularly for pleasure, and 1 in 6 – some 8.5m people – struggles to read at all.  That is the key finding of research undertaken by literacy campaign body The Reading Agency.   As schools break up for summer, The Reading Agency is encouraging people to […]

23Jul
Sara J. Maas and Rebecca Yarros Lead Fantasy Boom

Sara J. Maas and Rebecca Yarros Lead Fantasy Boom

Sales of adult fantasy – and in particular, romantasy – have led to good first half figures in the US.  Publishers Weekly reports: ‘Results for the first half of 2024 leave no question about what is driving sales: adult fantasy sales skyrocketed 85.2% over the first six months of 2023 thanks to a huge increase […]

22Jul
Edinburgh Book Festival Reveals 2024 Industry Program

Edinburgh Book Festival Reveals 2024 Industry Program

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has announced its comprehensive industry program for 2024, spotlighting publishing in its new venue, the Edinburgh Futures Institute.   Commencing on August 14, the festival will kick off with Global Ink, a dedicated international industry day. This event will bring together professionals from Scotland, the UK, and beyond to explore […]

Related Posts

Big Bad Wolf Books is Roaring Again

Big Bad Wolf Books is Roaring Again

Meeting the Big Bad Wolf himself. Malaysia’s Andrew Yap The Malaysian bookseller snappily called Big Bad Wolf Books is roaring again.  It has plans to take its revolutionary approach of cheap books for all into new parts of Africa – specifically Uganda in...

Amelia Smith Exclusive interview “Behind the Sun”

Amelia Smith Exclusive interview “Behind the Sun”

Amelia Smith Interview Amelia Smith is a journalist and a writer with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa region. We caught up with her in an exclusive interview to discuss her novel ‘Behind The Sun’ and her work in general. What interests and inspires you? I...

Zoulfa Katouh: Q and A

Zoulfa Katouh: Q and A

What made you write As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow ? Can you talk us through the process, from how you were inspired, why and how you choose the title and how long did it take you to write it. When I moved to Switzerland, I had a lot of people ask me about Syria. I...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest