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Amazon Kindle finally supports Arabic language books

A world of literature is is now readily available online.
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Jon Fingas/Engadget

Arabic language authors don't get many opportunities in the e-book world, whether it's due to a basic lack of support for the language (which reads right-to-left, is written in cursive and includes pronunciation marks) or the complexities of distributing the books in the first place. Amazon may be making it easier, though -- it's launching support for Arabic language books on Kindle devices and apps, including a dedicated section on the Kindle Store. The texts support all the same font adjustment, search and highlighting features you'd expect in other languages, while over 12,000 books are available worldwide.

The initial e-book selection spans both popular authors like Nizar Qabanai, classics like Ibn Khaldoun's Muqadimah and translations of English hits like Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Authors can self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing.

The addition may be more influential than you think. Al-Fanar Media noted that a successful Arabic language book may only sell 1,000 to 3,000 copies on average, and that a combination of limited distribution and sometimes low purchasing power made access difficult despite the Arab world's high literacy rate. Amazon's scale and digital distribution might help address this by making books widely available at prices lower than you sometimes see with printed works.

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