Snapplify, a publishing engine for mobile platforms that became Africa’s biggest mobile app developer in just a year since inception, has signed up Kotobarabia – the first mobile e-book store that specialises in Arabic content.
“Snapplify has actually been very active on the global book publishing scene with the recent Frankfurt and London Book Fairs,” says Wesley Lynch, CEO of Snapplify. “We have also recently signed Ka Boom Studios, the creators of the Peanuts comic strip, and set up a London office to better manage local content deals and support.
“But it was only when we got the attention of Kotobarabia that it really sank in – we’re now multi-cultural and multi-lingual as well as multinational, and the possibilities are even greater than with English.”
The deal is also enormously valuable to content owners in emerging markets, and their readers, he says.
“Emerging markets, due to the high preponderance of non-English-speaking cultures, cannot easily distribute their content on the mobile platform, as international standards like EPUB, used in iBooks, do not support many ‘foreign’ languages. As a result, there are large untapped markets in Arabic speaking communities, India etc.”
He adds that Snapplify introduces a solution that not only gives those publishers their own branded mobile app, but the opportunity to showcase their content on a global scale. This allows diaspora from Arabic-speaking countries and others to access their favourite newspaper or magazine on their mobile.
“Content owners can serve these markets by converting their catalogue to mobile apps at the click of a button, at no upfront cost, and distribution and monetisation is part of the deal with the tablet app store model,” Lynch adds.
“Snapplify’s platform is innovative because it is simple. Being a publisher from an emerging economy, it is difficult for me to comply with international standards such as EPUB, especially when EPUB does not comply with the standards of my language,” says Ramy Habeeb, director and co-founder of Kotobarabia.
“As a result, digitally distributing my content on valuable e-real estate such as the iPad and other tablets is expensive, time-consuming and often impossible. Snapplify’s pdf-based platform solves those issues, and now my titles are available on the iPad (and soon on other systems).”