There is a saying in the Arab world: the Egyptians make books, the Lebanese publish books, and the Iraqis read.
“The Arab world has such a saying: Egyptians write books, Lebanese publish books, and Iraqis read.” President Khatib proudly told me at the Digital Future Publishing Company in downtown Beirut, Lebanon.
The thought of Khatib really tells the Arab trilogy of reading.
As the cradle of human ancient civilization, Egypt is the world’s first place where the sun rises and shines. The ambiguous civilization has nurtured the people on the banks of the Nile since ancient times. To this day, Egypt is still a country with a high level of literacy in the Arab world. The Egyptians were also good at writing books and were born the only Nobel Prize winner in the Arab countries, Najib Mahafuz. He is recognized as a cultural giant in the Arab world. In Egypt, although not as famous as Mahafuz, there are many writers who write books. In the bookstores in urban and rural Egypt, even the works of second- and third-rate writers are more than a dozen platoons growing up and growing.
I also remembered that in Cairo’s large and small bookstores, you can always see books from Lebanon. A book with exquisite design and exquisite decoration is very eye-catching and creates the impulse to buy. Khatib gave me a set of “Encyclopedia of Medical Plants” just published by the company. It is a hardcover five-volume book. It is printed very beautifully. Each volume is made into different colors, with strong aesthetic effects and visual impact. .
Khatib told me that there were thousands of publishing companies in Lebanon at the most, and there are still hundreds of companies operating and tens of thousands of publishers. Lebanon publishes about 8,000 books each year, including more than 3,000 new books. With a population of just over 6 million and an area of only 10,000 square kilometers, the publishing industry is so prosperous that Lebanese, including Khatib, are proud.
Because Lebanese society is free, culturally rich, and the environment for publishing books is loose, its publishing industry is far ahead of other Arab countries. The literary books published by Beirut are well received in the Arab countries and have a considerable sales volume. It is worth mentioning that the “Digital Future” company also insists on publishing excellent books in China. So far, more than 200 kinds of Chinese books have been published, with a cumulative total of more than 1 million books. Khatib also won the 11th China Book Special Contribution Award “Youth Achievement Award” for this purpose.
As for the Iraqis who love to read books, I think of the scene I saw in the book market in Baghdad many years ago. At that time, I saw a pure literary publication called “Pen”, which was bigger than the “People” magazine run by the Yunnan People’s Publishing House. It was also much thicker and heavy in his hand. Many Iraqis have read the pen and read it. This scene still shines in my mind until today.
Iraq is one of the birthplaces of human civilization, and the splendid culture of the two rivers is relishing. Baghdad is also a splendid Arab empire, the capital of Abbas, with a long history and a rich collection of humanities. In the 18th century BC, the Babylonian Code of Babylon referred to Baghdad, calling it a godsend and a cultural capital. The cultural heritage accumulated in the Iraqi national soul is very rich, and the local people love to read books has become a common practice. Even with the constant war and years of sanctions, Iraqis are still addicted. The National Library of Iraq, Iskander, has published his diary as “The Book of the Fire”, which records his touching stories of retrieving rare books and rebuilding the library in the ruins of war. Caused a warm response. This is also a vivid portrayal of “Iraqi reading.”