Wednesday 12 November 2014

Romania publishes as many books as all the Arab countries put together


An interesting piece of information from this site:

....the Arab world, with its population of over 362 million people in 2012 (according to the World Bank data), produces between 15,000 and 18,000 new titles per year, with print runs varying between 1,000 and 3,000 copies each ... Which is the number of books produced in countries like Romania (with a population of 21.3millions in 2012), and Ukraine (population 45.6millions in 2012), and which is roughly the number of titles published yearly by Penguin Random House.

Interestingly, Iran, with 78 million inhabitants, publishes more than the Arab world. 

The Arabs have produced six Nobel prize winners, of whom three were given the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and one for campaigning for human rights in Yemen. Romanians have won four. However, of the four Romanian winners two were ethnic Romanians and the other two, Herta Muller and Elie Wiesel, a German from the Banat and a Transylvanian Jew respectively, made their lives abroad and did not write in Romanian. By comparison 32 Nobel Prizes were awarded to graduates of Trinity College, Cambridge. I wish my headmaster had not dissuaded me from going there.


  1. Paul, you mind if I translate this into Turkish and post refering to you ?

  2. Of course - translate anything you want from my blog. What are the reasons for so few books? Is it illiteracy or that no-one speaks Standard Arabic which is the written language? Or a collective lack of intellectual curiosity?

  3. Three points:
    - quality not quantity
    - % of literacy in the countries concerned
    - you can publish, but no-one might bother to read


  4. I remember that the Master of Trinity used to boast, during my time at Cambridge in the '60s, that Trinity had produced more Nobel prize winners than the entire French nation (which I suspect he did not hold in high regard). The question I asked myself was whether the Nobel prize adjudicators had either an anti-French bias or a pro-Anglo-Saxon one ... certainly, members of the Anglo-Saxon world seem to have done disproportionately well over the years ...

    1. Yes I remember Trinity men saying this and they had the most beautiful college while I had this horrible 1970s dining hall. I also remember the inimitable John Aubrey, writing about his scheme for setting up a school, said he would have no French boys in it 'for their minds do run chiefly on the propagation of their race.' I don't know if this is relevant.

  5. I've known this for a long time...I have a few friends in publishing in Romania and know about the size of the readers market.
    It only demonstrates it is a people that appreciates culture and knowledge.
    Kind regards