Case Study

A digital publishing case study: Kuttab

How Canon helped Kuttab become a leading UAE publisher


Without Canon’s enabling solutions, we would not have been able to build such an encouraging and culturally relevant offering for the UAE.

Jamal Alshehhi, Founder, Kuttab Publishing

A home-grown publisher for local talent

For too long, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lacked a publishing house that focused on home-grown authors. The talent was out there, but there were no industry leaders who dedicated themselves to identifying, partnering and promoting amateur and professional UAE writers.

Instead, authors had to take it upon themselves – using their own time and finances – to get their work published and printed. Costs were further magnified if they wanted to distribute to countries beyond the UAE – not to mention the expenses of solo marketing and promotions, and time spent working directly with retailers. It was an expensive endeavor in more ways than one.

The UAE publishing industry needed a newcomer – one that understood home-grown authors’ needs and was committed to managing them as long-term clients.

A home-grown publisher for local talent

Kuttab Publishing disrupts the market

Kuttab Publishing entered the market in 2010 and immediately found its niche as a home-grown book publisher offering an end-to-end solution to authors – authors who before Kuttab’s arrival had few, if any, offers of full-scale representation.

Starting small, Kuttab focused on providing all services to its authors – managing everything from contracting, proofreading and editing, to design and layout, printing, distribution, and promotion. Such a major investment of time into each author’s project was exactly what the region needed, but it meant Kuttab could only produce 30 to 40 books each year.

In tandem with Kuttab’s arrival into the UAE publishing space, more local authors were writing high-quality works and seeking representation from Kuttab. But with resources stretched across a small batch of authors, and managing the entire publishing process in-house, Kuttab needed a solution to streamline the time from author contracting to retail availability.

So began Kuttab Publishing’s search for an in-house printing solution, either offset or digital.

Kuttab Publishing disrupts the market

Canon helps Kuttab become a market leader

After investigating a variety of providers, Jamal Alshehhi, Founder, Kuttab Publishing, says the choice to partner with Canon was an easy decision.

“Having evaluated numerous options, we visited the Canon showroom, fully aware of Canon’s reputation in the market and standing as a leader in printing solutions,” he says.

At the showroom, the Kuttab team explored a suite of innovative digital-print solutions: Canon VarioPrint Utra 6160 and the Canon imagePRESS C850. Both solutions were ideal to overcome Kuttab’s challenges, offering digital print with the speed and quality of offset printing. But what most impressed Alshehhi was Canon’s web-to-print (W2P) for on-demand book printing.

The final piece of the puzzle was integrating Canon’s Workflow Portal, which delivered a workflow system that monitored all of Kuttab’s focus areas, and set its offering apart from the competition.

Thanks to the range of digital print and workflow solutions provided by Canon, Kuttab Publishing is recognized as a market leader in the UAE publishing sector. Investing in technology has not only delivered 20–30% cost savings on Kuttab’s short print runs but transformed its entire operations and business model.

More than a technology provider, we see Canon as an enabler of success for innovative, challenging businesses such as ours.

Written by Jamal Alshehhi, Founder, Kuttab Publishing

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