A Young Entrepreneur Sells Banned Books In The Middle East

by Rachel Baker on July 2, 2014

This is a cool story about a young man who has an online book retailer site and specifically marks books that have been banned. Of course, there is a profit in making that distinction, but at least he is also making them available.

Yesterday, Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria were in the headlines again after they declared a caliphate under strict Islamic law. I couldn’t help but think of the contrast: on one hand, what looks to be a blanket of oppression settling over parts of both countries. On the other, I was standing next to the entrepreneur Ala’ Alsallal, 28, as he showed me piles of the banned books that his company, Jamalon, ships to readers throughout the Middle East.

Jamalon is a four-year-old online books retailer that carries 10 million titles, 75% of them in Arabic. Among them are the books on Alsallal’s new banned books list, which Alsallal started because he says it helps sales to ID the books being targeted by the government censors in the 20 countries where the company operates.

“We keep facing trouble because of what we do,” he says. “But I feel happy when I get people to read or get books.”

Alsallal is one of the entrepreneurs I am meeting here this week, in Amman, Jordan, as I work on projects for a handful of business web sites interested in the stories outside of the violence in Iraq and Syria.

Here’s the Article:
Defying Censors, A Young Entrepreneur Sells Banned Books In The Middle East

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