King Salman Youth Center has a strong presence in Riyadh International Book Fair. The center helps young talents by incubating them through the intuitive “Youth Writer” initiative, which gives all support to young authors to publish their creative works. The services include editing, designing covers, printing, protecting copyrights, marketing and online publication. The authors can sign the books in exhibitions and in ceremonies. Proceeds from the sale will go to the authors alone.
The main objective of the center is to create a platform for young authors and incubate their creative talent. It also helps the authors to cope with the obstacles that face them in publishing their work.
Saudi Gazette met with Ahmed Altammimi, a computer science student at King Saud University who works with the center.
“After this initiative was introduced four years ago, we at the center noticed how talented the Saudi youth are. We always receive lots of young male and female Saudis dreaming of publishing their books. We chose the best of them in order to incubate their talent,” he said.
Altammimi added, “We are honored to participate at the book fair this year. The youth are interested in what other youths have in their minds. There are also many youngsters who come to ask us about our conditions and procedures for publishing a work. The number of people visiting the book fair is a lot. We are happy and we would like to have more visitors in coming days.”
Altammimi said they publish works of authors aged between 18 and 35. Most of the writers are university students in the age group of 18-22.
“Female authors or writers outnumber their male counterparts. But at the end, we have talents from both sexes,” Altammimi added.
On a question about the reason behind not having books that can help students in academics, Altammimi said: “Again one of our condition for publication is that the idea and theme of the book should be attractive for youngsters because simply they are our target. We want the youth to write about the youth. This is the best way to reinforce creative writing and reading habit. We want to achieve that goal through something interesting, away from academics and serious books, which are available everywhere. The students are fully immersed in serious reading and research throughout the academic year. Moreover, it is very tough for a student to write about such genres that demand lots of experience.”
Altammimi described the sales as excellent. “The sales are much better than previous years. It increased by 20 to 30 percent. It seems young Saudis like reading and tend to spend money for buying books in print and online,” he said.
“We are a non-profit organization. Therefore, we distribute and sell books through the center only and by having a presence in book fairs and similar events. Moreover, we sell books through our website,” said Altammimi.
He said the center focused on marketing through social media since it was the most powerful way to promote or market any service or product in Saudi society.
“This year we published 13 books and it is the highest number of publications for any year. Last year, we published 10 books. The year before, we had only 6 books published. Every year we have more publications,” he said.
The center helps a young author to get his work published only once, Altammimi said, explaining that getting the first book published as the hardest task for any author. “The center’s role is to provide help for them become independent authors and it wants to provide the same opportunity more and more authors,” he added.