E-books become more popular than print among Syrians during Coronavirus pandemic

Damascus, SANA- The Coronavirus pandemic has affected most sectors as well as social and cultural habits, and one of those habits is reading; with the extended quarantine and lockdown periods, e-books are growing more popular at the expense of their print counterparts.

According to Head of the Syrian Publishers Union Haitham al-Hafez, the Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically affected the popularity of libraries, bookstores, and print books, which required finding solutions to this problem by delivering books to the reader directly or publishing it online, which is why publishers are now preferring digital publishing of books and novels, putting out books and novels in PDF, audiobook, or even video formats.

Despite the impact of the war in Syria and the Coronavirus on the publishing industry, Syrian publishers remained present over the past years at Arab book shows and cultural forums, with al Hafez saying that book shows are vital for promoting books, and attributed the low readership in the Arab world to the limited number of such shows.

While e-books provide many useful features, many readers still derive joy from print books, saying that the smell of the paper while turning the book’s pages is part of the joy of reading, and that paper books have a charm and texture that e-books lack.

They added that many readers are refraining from reading in general is due to them having other priorities they seek to secure, and e-books can be acquired easily and take up no space in the house.

The difficulties that faced publishing houses during the past years played a big role in tipping the scales in favor of e-books at the expense of print, as the terrorist war on Syria led to many publishing houses closing down due to the dramatic decrease in sales and the pressure on the remaining printing presses, which led to resorting to e-books.

According to publishers and writers, the various circumstances in any society directly or indirectly play a big role in promoting books, but despite all circumstances, both electronic and print books remain a necessity for their cultural, psychological, and intellectual benefits, especially for children when their awareness is being formed.

Baraa Ali / Hazem Sabbagh

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