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January 23 2022 8:00 PM ˚
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Abjjad: First social network for Arabic literature admirers

(Photos: Abjjad Twitter page)
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AMMAN — Designed to unify admirers of Arabic literature, Abjjad, a social network for readers, authors, and bloggers, aims to become the “Netflix for Arabic books.”اضافة اعلان

“Founded in 2012, (Abjjad) is … for book lovers,” CEO and founder Eman Haylooz told Jordan News. “The product has developed based on our users’ feedback. It was originally for (book) reviews and online discussions, but users were asking to read books online, which is why we entered the e-book market.”

Haylooz said that after graduating with a degree in computer science, she worked in technology for seven years. Founding Abjjad combined her love for Arabic books and computer science.

“My whole working life, I worked for startups. During my first job outside of university, I witnessed the growth of the company from a dozen people to over 200 people,” she said. “It was a young company, and I was fascinated by the fact that both my direct manager and CEO were under 28.” 

According to Haylooz, she was then hired by a management consulting firm, but soon after joining, she took part in a seven-day Oasis500 bootcamp.

“That bootcamp changed my life, and I began to develop a pitch to join Oasis500,” said Haylooz. 

“I simply didn’t see myself in the corporate world, so I resigned from my job before I actually got any investment,” she said.  “However, that leap of faith paid off and thankfully, I received the funds to start Abjjad full time. With the help of Oasis500 and my international team from the UAE, Egypt, and Palestine, we were able to serve the Arabic language in a modern way.” 

In an interview with Jordan News, Abjjad employee Haneen Jaber said, “I started as a freelancer at Abjjad, and was intrigued by the complexity of the work environment, and now work full time. My love for books played a major role in my interest in Abjjad, and I enjoy easing access to readers’ desired Arabic works of literature.” 

As a concept and company, Abjjad has transformed over the years. According to Haylooz, the project was initially centered on the community, the traffic, the reviews, and the ratings.

These days, it focuses on business. Abjjad’s owners want to strengthen their “value proposition to publishers, not just in terms of marketing and reach, but in terms of strong financial terms. We aim to digitize their books, enabling them to publish on our platform, creating a revenue stream for them, and increasing their reader base.”

Jaber stated that Abjjad publishes 10 books per day, arranging them based on genre.

“The categories include novels and stories, literature books, historical books, religious books, political books, scientific books, money and business, psychology and self-development, philosophy, languages, law, technology and internet, press and media, medicine and health, and many more,” said Jaber. 

Abjjad allows readers to rate books, write book reviews, and add quotes. It also offers users the option to enlarge the text, alter fonts, add bookmarks, and choose whether to read laterally or vertically. 

“Digital publishing for Arabic books is lagging in the world,” said Haylouz. “My primary objective is to make digitizing faster and cheaper, to provide affordable e-books for Arab users, and to end book piracy in the Arab world and help users switch to reading copyrighted material.”

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