Egypt’s free e-book publishing (Bikya Masr)
Date posted: December 24, 2009
Raghda Salama wrote for Bikya Masr
Amidst the growing publishing scene in Egypt, numerous writers, old and new, are facing problems with their publishers. The primary problem faced by writers new to the publishing scene is essentially the financial cost of publishing. In turn, Marwa Rakha has come to the rescue. For the first time in Egypt's history, Rakha has launched, through her personal website, Egypt's first free e-publishing services.
Marwa Rakha is a freelance writer, a corporate trainer, and a marketing instructor at the American University in Cairo. Marwa has also been named a "relationship and dating experts", particularly following the publishing of her book, The Poison Tree: Planted and Grown in Egypt, in January 2008. The book has remarkably put together a collection of Marwa's relationship experiences, in the form of a journal.
Although there have been other e-publishing initiatives in Egypt, none have been able to withstand that hardships of online publishing. Rakha's initiative has begun on September 1, 2009, when she first made her book available for download on her personal website. To this day, the book has been downloaded over 8,000 times.
Following this "rebellion", writers began sharing their stories with her in hopes of also having them available for download. She states that she "decided to turn her website into a microphone for anyone who thinks they can sing."
Marwa Rakha's free e-publishing does not censor and does not have any guidelines for manuscript acceptance whatsoever.
Rakha says that "if you think you are a writer, if you think you want people to hear your voice, if you do not want to be at the mercy of a publisher who will make you pay, will not print the number of copies he promised, will not distribute the book properly, and will not market the book or author, then… you have a home with me."
Even more, Rakha has put together a team of volunteer English and Arabic editors, marketers, designers and illustrators to help achieve such a remarkable mission. So far, Rakha has published (made available for download) over 30 e-books.
When asked about the future of publishing, the writer responds by briefly stating that "the future is online" and that this fact is inevitable.
To further promote the books and their authors, Rakha is currently in the process of searching for donors who can sponsor the books and their authors.