If numerically significant—the sell-out news was reported today by the Qatar News Agency, but I don’t know how fast children’s books generally sell at Harrod’s, or how many Arabic books they had on hand (six? six thousand?)—this would confirm my suspicion that the biggest potential market for Arabic children’s books is neither Cairo nor Abu Dhabi nor Beirut, but the Arab diaspora.
The news agency reports:
Best-selling children’s books translated into Arabic by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) sold out at the world’s most famous luxury department store, Harrods, just two weeks after going on sale.
The BQFP titles include translations of Charles Faustin and Mike Terry’s The Selfish Crocodile, Emma Chichester Clark’s Eliza and The Moonchild, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo, and Nick Sharratt and Sue Heap’s Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly.
My son and I particularly recommend the translation of The Gruffalo, Al Gharfoul, which is so delightful I find him carrying it around with him.
These books are pricey for the Cairo market (we paid 60LE for Al Gharfoul, quite a lot for us), but they should do fine in London, even outside the upscale Harrods.