DUBAI: Jordan-based independent podcast company Sowt has announced the addition of audiobooks to Safahat Sowt.
Launched on Apple Podcasts in 2021, Safahat Sowt offers articles from select publishers across the Middle East and North Africa in audio form. Now, the company is expanding its repertoire of content to include audiobooks.
Its first two audiobooks are “Ebra wa Kushtuban” by Fadi Zaghmout and “Ramallah” by Abbad Yahya.
Zaghmout’s novel features a fictional society where human beings are treated based on their height. Their social roles and personal identities all revolve around how tall or short they are.
“I feel honored to have ‘Ebra wa Kushtuban’ chosen as the first book to launch audiobooks on Safahat Sowt,” Zaghmout told Arab News.
“I’ve always admired the quality of content Sowt produces. It’s an Arab platform we’re all proud of.”
The second production, “Ramallah,” tells the story of the transformation of a small village under Ottoman rule in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Turning their work into an audiobook was a unique experience for both authors. In the case of “Ebra wa Kushtuban,” the audio form adds life and vitality to the book in large part due to the voice and performance of Lana Nasser, according to Zaghmout.
For Yahya, the idea of audiobooks is important, and he had given it much thought. “The presence of a professional establishment to produce the work, which was achieved with Sowt, turned the idea into a real production,” he said.
The global audio industry has evolved with the growth of music streaming and podcasts. Although audiobooks are relatively new, their demand is growing rapidly.
In 2020, audiobook sales revenue in the US alone reached $1.3 billion, according to data from the statistics portal Statista.
The CEO of Sowt Media, Ramsey Tesdell, told Arab News: “There’s a huge demand for well-produced audiobooks, but very little supply.”
The company is focused on quality, not quantity, and has differentiated itself by “being laser-focused on high-quality production, engaging sonic design and unique perspectives,” Tesdell said.
“Working with the authors themselves to create an audio journey that reflects the nuances of each book is very important to us.”