How Books Are Made

Ebooks, Arabic, lions, vampires

Arthur meets up with an old friend, Ramy Habeeb, to share some fascinating, hilarious book-making stories. And he discovers that his friend has a whole other life, and pseudonym, as a successful novelist.

Ramy’s ventures are a great example of how invention flourishes at the intersections of language, culture, and disciplines. Born in Egypt, he grew up in Bahrain and Canada, taught in Japan, and has worked in Egypt, England and Scotland, collecting accolades along the way. He is the founder of Kotobarabia, the first Arabic-language ebook publishing company in the Middle East.

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This episode was published on 28 September 2020.
Supported by Electric Book Works: publishing reinvented for the digital age.


Arthur Attwell 0:04
Welcome to How Books Are Made, a podcast about the art and science of making books. I’m Arthur Attwell.

Arthur Attwell 0:22
Those of us lucky enough to speak more than one language often appreciate how much different languages offer us different ways of looking at the world. As they say, there’s probably a German word for the feeling of finding a German word for a feeling. Invention itself has always flourished where languages, cultures, or disciplines intersect. Those special enough to live at the intersections do remarkable things. Not least because languages, cultures, and disciplines divide us so cruelly, and those who bridge those divides might help us find each other.

Arthur Attwell 1:00
As a book maker, I wonder sometimes if it’s any surprise that some of our world’s greatest divides fall along the fault lines of alphabetic scripts. One book maker I have long admired for living and working at the intersections of languages, cultures and disciplines is the warm, insightful, hilarious dynamo Ramy Habeeb. Born in Egypt, he grew up in Bahrain and Canada, taught in Japan, and has worked in Egypt, England and Scotland. He’s earned more accolades than a podcast intro can accommodate. I met Ramy in 2007 when he was heading up Kotobarabia, the first Arabic language ebook publishing company in the Middle East. That feels like a very long time ago. Ramy Habeeb! We speak at last. It’s been too long. How are you doing?

Ramy Habeeb 1:55
Amazing. The last time we spoke, Arthur, I didn’t have glasses and, or children. Now, all that has changed.

Arthur Attwell 2:05
[LAUGHS] And the last time we saw each other, we were walking around Edinburgh in the middle of the night. You’re still in Edinburgh, right?

Ramy Habeeb 2:12
I am. I am I, we moved here in 2013 and I’m planning on dying here. That’s the goal. We all need ambition, and that’s my goal. Right. So, yeah.

Arthur Attwell 2:24
It’s a good place to see out your days. That brings me to a question I wanted to ask first. I was trying to make a list of all the cities that you’ve lived in that I know about. I’ve got Cairo, in Bahrain was that Manama …?

Ramy Habeeb 2:40
Manama. I was actually in Adliya, but I mean, it’s one, it’s basically one big city. It’s so small. So yeah, I was in Adliya, but Manama is the capital. Just for those of you don’t know, Bahrain is a tiny desert island in the middle of in the Persian Gulf. You can drive the entire circumference of the island in less than four hours.

Arthur Attwell 3:05

Ramy Habeeb 3:05
It’s tiny.

Arthur Attwell 3:07
Then there was a Montreal, Okinawa, London, and Edinburgh. Have I missed any?

Ramy Habeeb 3:14
Well, I’ve spent significant time in Calgary and Toronto, as well, and I spent about nine months in Turkey, in southern Turkey in a small town. Well, a small city really called Gaziantep. I think, I think that’s everything. Right there. Yeah. Edinburgh wins. From, from the perspective of having kids and having a family and all of that stuff, Edinburgh is an amazing place to be. People always complain about the rain here, but I’m originally from Canada. Our weather tries to kill you. This weather is just inconvenient. Our weather will kill you if you’re not ready. So I’m fine with the weather.

Arthur Attwell 3:57
The cities that you’ve lived in seem to … seem to track your various professional pursuits. I don’t even know where to start. There is so much here. I remember you telling me a story about digitising Arabic ebooks at Kotobarabia. I know that’s jumping in like in the middle of the story and there’s stuff before that. Can you tell me a bit more about what it took to create ebooks at Kotobarabia?

Ramy Habeeb 4:25
I’ll actually just start like one step before just to give it a bit of context very well. When I left Japan, I went back to Bahrain to take care of my dad. So Bahrain is obviously an Arab state, and you know, I have passable Arabic, I won’t claim to be great. I’m decent enough at it. While I was taking care of my dad, who was really sick at the time, I was trying to look for something to do and this was in 2003, or late 2002 or 2003. At that time, there was one ebook company out there. It was called, if I remember correctly, and I got this idea, I was like, Oh my god, right? You know, ebooks are the thing. That by the way, at this time it was PDFs, right, there was no epub, or mobi, or any of that stuff. I said ah, I know what we’ll do, we’ll digitise Arabic content and we’ll distribute it throughout the world.

Ramy Habeeb 5:22
We started to try to digitise the content. At that time, the big thing was OCR, right? Because OCR was huge in English. OCR does not work in Arabic, I don’t even think it works today, although I’m a little bit outdated in my information. I haven’t really looked into it for about three years now, but as of three years ago, it certainly didn’t work, I still think it doesn’t work. What we wound up doing was we created what was called the beehive. We literally got 130 typists in three shifts. There were just three shifts, eight-hour shifts, and they come in, and they would type these books that we would bring them from various sources, while we were trying to sell it to wherever.

Ramy Habeeb 6:53
Creating a B2C store didn’t work. We were kind of ahead of our time, but it was also just there was a lot of complications to, to kind of the culture of online purchasing in the Middle East and stuff like that. It just didn’t work. What we wound up doing was digitising these massive volumes. We shifted from current contemporary literature to primary texts, so the Shakespeare’s and Chaucer’s of Arabic, and then we sold collections to libraries in university. There’s a good chance that if you have access to a library or a university, online content, and there’s Arabic content, that’s from us. There’s there’s a fair chance that that’s what you got. I really kick that off in about two thousand and… 2005. May fifth 2005 was our official doors opening day. Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into getting to that point. I left the company, like kind of tied up … I didn’t fully leave it like because I still have a stake in it, but I walked away from the day-to-day operations of that company in 2011.

Arthur Attwell 8:10
Right, wow. The company, was it your first entrepreneurial venture? What had you been doing before that?

Ramy Habeeb 8:18
Yeah, it was my first entrepreneur. Before that I was teaching English in Japan, but what I was really doing was trying to become a writer. Basically, I was teaching English in Japan. The way the system was set up, was because I was a foreign teacher I was uninsurable, which meant that I couldn’t do certain activities with the students. As a result, I was told, please go to the library and study language and culture during my free periods. And so I did, I went and I wrote every day and read every day, and in that period, I just kind of like, honed my skills in that. And so when I started Kotobarabia, it was actually because I wanted to learn more about publishing to get into the publishing world, into the writing world and stuff like that. But anyone who has started a business, you just know that that just consumes you. It just takes over everything. So I kind of parked the writing for a while. Then in 2015, my wife told me she was pregnant. It wasn’t that much of a surprise. We were trying like, you know, there was a happy moment. But I also came with this like, holy guacamole, I’m going to be a dad and I haven’t written that book yet. I kind of put everything aside that I was working on and just started writing from that point forward.

Arthur Attwell 9:48
I want to come back to Japan and the writing, but just to stick with Kotobarabia awhile I remember we met in what felt like the early but meteoric days of Kotobarabia. We met in London a few years later again. I saw you at O’Reilly Tools of Change conference where you gave an amazing talk about publishing in Egypt, in the Arab world … You talked about ISBNs in particular as a fascinating challenge. What was the challenge then, at the time?

Ramy Habeeb 10:21
Well, okay, so I don’t know how much into the weeds I should get just in terms of how publishing works …

Arthur Attwell 10:28
I love the weeds, let’s do the weeds.

Ramy Habeeb 10:29
Let’s do the weeds. All right. Typically, kind of in the traditional publishing model, you know, and I am kind of going into legacy issues of pre-computers kind of era, you know, you what you did was you wanted to record everything that a book did, and use the ISBN as the linchpin number. Every book has a unique ISBN number. This gives you a whole bunch of advantages, because you’re really able to track the lifecycle of the book. But more importantly, you’re actually able to track the ownership of a book, because books have variety, go through variety of iterations, right? You have translations, you have different versions, you have different distributors. Before kind of these global distribution networks, if I published my book in the UK, I’d use publishing house A, which had a certain ISBN behind it. If I wanted to also get my book in the US, I needed to get another publisher in the US.

Ramy Habeeb 11:30
Now usually, the UK publisher would sell those rights. Right. Of course, it gets even more complicated if I want to sell a translated version of that book into Germany, right, for example, or wherever, right. Every version gets its own ISBNs, and you can kind of track it and figure out who the rights holders are. In the Arab world, you don’t have this, right, at least at that time, you didn’t have it. I mean, it’s better now, but it’s still got a long way to go. As a result, we have a lot of challenges over kind of distributing books. The biggest challenge was orphan books,. Again, not to get too deep into the weeds, but there are entire organisations built just on hunting down the rights owners of orphan books.

Ramy Habeeb 12:18
There was all these issues with how to, how to get it done. Because quite literally, in the Arab world, what would happen is a guy would publish it, a book. Then he’d work with a local distributor or a local publisher, or he’d become that local publisher, whatever it was, and the distribution would be limited to what he could move on his own back. So the average distribution range to a book in the Arab world in 2000 5, 6, 7, in that era, was about 10 miles. We, as part of Kotobarabia, we actually studied this. We found the central point to books and then we went to every bookstore we could find in all of Egypt, you know, I’m talking like little bookstore kiosks in beach resorts. We found the average book distribution was 10 miles. That was it.

Ramy Habeeb 13:13
When we started to come and say, let’s do ebooks, that became a whole kettle of fish, because how do we find the rights holders? How … there’s no ISBN there. One of the projects that I had worked on and, sad to say, one of the failed projects I had worked on, to truth be told, was trying to find a way to with an impactful way bring ISBNs into the Arab world. Because they were being used by some of the larger publishing houses, the more clued-in publishers, but that probably represented like 30 or 40% of the market. There was still a vast swathes just completely dead.

Ramy Habeeb 13:48
Now I don’t, I would like to throw in a couple of caveats. I’m speaking Egypt here. Lebanon was a little bit more sophisticated. Iraq had been more sophisticated, but completely shut down pretty much. Syria was a little bit more sophisticated, but kind of in between Lebanon and Egypt. That was another challenge is that, you know, there was different levels of sophistication. You were having different kinds of levels of conversations, depending on which organisation you were working with, which country you were working with, which publisher you were working with.

Arthur Attwell 14:18
Over the years, you consulted with a number of organisations or worked on a number of projects across all those countries.

Ramy Habeeb 14:24
I did, I did. We did a project with the Abu Dhabi Book Fair, where we were trying to figure out rights holders. I remember there was like a German consultancy firm and I just remembered listening to their pitch and and they literally compared the distribution of books to beer in Abu Dhabi. I was just like, guys like, like, do you not understand the relationship the entire Arab world has with alcohol? Right, like is this really the best way to present this? But oh, but good analogy that shows you really understand what … it was. It was a challenge. It was a real challenge.

Arthur Attwell 15:01
Somehow, in the midst of all of this Kotobarabia just seemed to keep growing, as you say, starting with, I think it’s two people when you started out, grow to the height of 100 and something typists. How did that growth happen? What were you digitising? What is the kind of genres that were really working?

Ramy Habeeb 15:21
When we left kind of contemporary literature, that’s when it changed, right. That was the big shift for us. We left contemporary fiction. Well, and nonfiction, to be honest, we were, we were doing both but I think most of our work was fiction at this point, because we were looking to get like kind of those heavy-hitter novels that actually were being distributed beyond the 10 miles I, you know, and if it you know, the theory being like, if it worked in Egypt, then it would hopefully work in Lebanon, and Syria, and oh, you know, like Arabs living abroad and all of that stuff, right. So all of that stuff, circled round to our main focus in the beginning, but that just didn’t work. Then I gave that speech at … the Tools of Change speech, and I got a phone call from a guy called Robert Lee. I was like, Robert Lee has been dead for several hundred years, and not from what I know of his background, not someone I really want to connect with. But I gave this Robert Lee a benefit of the doubt and I contacted him.

Ramy Habeeb 16:31
He was working for a company that distrubuted, that specialised in distributing non-Roman alphabet languages into libraries and universities, in the United States, Europe, even China and stuff like that. We started talking about that and like to be honest, it was so cumbersome, trying to pay royalty rates for contemporary stuff, that we started to look at primary text. We realised that actually, primary texts were even worse, in terms of distribution, than contemporary stuff, because there was just a lot of fall, of fallen or forgotten content out there. We started to digitise that content, create collections around that content, and sell it to universities and libraries. That went really well. Like I said, I went down to part-time in about … it wasn’t 2011 sorry, it was 2013. I think I said 11 at first, I was actually 13, and then kind of really removed myself in 2015. I still have a little bit of connection with it all I, but I’m not, I’m not in the weeds anymore.

Arthur Attwell 17:43
Yeah, I seem to remember at some stage, things got really tough for Kotobarabia.

Ramy Habeeb 17:48
Oh, yeah.

Arthur Attwell 17:48
What happened there? I know that essentially political change in Egypt had an effect on you guys.

Ramy Habeeb 17:53
Yeah. There were a couple hard points in in the journey of it. What happened was that well, the Arab Spring, right was the initial shot. When the Arab Spring, look at that point, things were going pretty well, we were actually looking into opening up an office in Syria. Then the Arab Spring kicked off. So that, that was done. Right. We were also looking into creating mobile digitisation centres. We were, we we had developed, I mean, it was fairly crude, but it was one of those things that we had hoped over time, the prototypes would get more advanced. But we had developed these crude on-the-field digitisation systems, right. Effectively, it was a 10 megapixel camera on, you know those, remember those old projectors? Yeah, so what we just kind of rebuilt it so that, you know, people could go into the field with these things, and then find content from all over. It’s sad, because like, the whole political situation didn’t allow this to happen.

Ramy Habeeb 19:03
Is, this a few years old so forgive me if I get the details a little bit wrong, but there was a Benedictine monastery in kind of the Delta region of Egypt, and it was pretty isolated. It had thousands of books that only existed in this one library. We had spoken to these guys, and it was hilarious. Like, I’m going to tell you like, I’ll tell you a couple of details of the story. Doesn’t sound true. Even I repeating it, I’m telling you, like, like, I would be listening to this and be like, this guy’s full of crap. So we sent our one of our guys go to this monastery to see if they would agree to let us digitise the books. The only way he could get there is on a donkey cart. Okay, that was the only mode of … I mean, I’m sure there could have been other carts driven by other animals or he could have walked, but he in particular was on a donkey cart getting to this monastery. This is like 2009, right. You know, or eight, you know, this isn’t … I’m not talking about 50 years ago, I’m talking about 10 years ago. So he went up there, and he had to kind of negotiate with it. He’d go and negotiate and come back and then go again and negotiate and come back and stuff like that. Finally, on the last day that he had negotiated, he goes, ah, ah, I think I did it. We’re like, did you get the contract? He’s like, no, but on the way to the monastery, I saw a dead lion, and I’m sure that’s a sign. We went, there are no lions in Egypt.

Ramy Habeeb 20:45
[LAUGHS] So I don’t know what he saw. But this was, you know, this was the … I’m sure he saw dead something right, you know. Maybe it was a lion, there were lions, once upon a time, I just don’t think there are any more wild lions in Egypt. Anyway, sure enough, we got the contract. Like that was like, he was right, I mean, sign or not like, we got the contract. But it was never executed. Simply because Arab Spring kicked off, then we had to really contract, hold our fort down, we had invested a lot and kind of going into Syria and other places and that just kind of fell apart as well. Also, we had a sister organisation which digitised content for companies like Nielsen and Coca Cola and stuff, where they were looking at questionnaires and field studies basically on for mostly for marketing and advertising. That that business just, it just fell off the cliff for for a long time. So yeah, these were things. It took a few years to kind of build things back up.

Arthur Attwell 21:57
You know, from the outside where I am, we look at the Arab Spring, and it’s usually cast with this rosy glow of this, you know, wonderful change in the Arab world. I’m sure much of that is true, but it’s fascinated me always that there was this big downside for your business. How do those dynamics work? Why does something as celebrated as the Arab Spring actually end up being your biggest challenge?

Ramy Habeeb 22:27
It was a lot of things working at once, right. For example, um, it was uncertainty, right. Even though in in Egypt in particular, there was that 18-day protests, and then Mubarak stepped down … There was then months of debates and fights and protests and whatnot, that would just kind of crumble everything. Then, of course, in Syria, it just never, like Egypt regained stability really quickly. Syria just kept going, and going and going and going right. Now, it’s still going on today. Uncertainty, killed so much. Then we started looking at like, so for example, because of the uncertainty, we needed to work on the activities that we knew paid. Then when, with the sister organisation, they weren’t doing studies, because they weren’t willing to invest, like at this moment, so they were freezing everything as well. As a result of this, and it’s obviously not just our businesses that had this problem, but then you had a currency freeze. Right, which all of a sudden meant we had difficulty paying vendors outside of Egypt for various activities. If we brought the money into Egypt for anything that we did, right, like we couldn’t get it out again, you know. We’d have to just bring in what would pay the salaries and what would pay for the the local operations.

Ramy Habeeb 23:59
The other thing was, we lost real talent in it. Because we had, you know, numerous employees who were like key members of the team, who wanted and needed to go do something else, right. With that change they … So for example, like we had the guy who basically built all our systems, our websites and soft, like bespoke software that we were using, and he was the guy who just kind of built it all. We had a very good and happy relationship. He wanted to go back to the village that he grew up in after this event, and then working remotely just didn’t work. We tried for a while, but it didn’t work. So we had to bring in other people who would figure out the coding to fix anything that broke along the way. You know, it was like death from 1,000 paper cuts. It wasn’t any one thing. It was a myriad of little things.

Ramy Habeeb 25:00
For example, just as a, you know, death from 1,000 paper cuts, we were going to go negotiate with the, I guess it was the Minister … like, again, these are long time ago, so I struggle kind of remembering it, but I believe it was the Ministry of Culture to do something. We were bidding on a government tender. Anyone who’s ever bid on government tenders, you have deadlines, you got to submit things, there’s a system … and you know, and especially in Egypt, you know, you, you’re submitting these like, folders of information that you spend hours, days working on just to give it. We couldn’t, we missed the deadline, because there were protests on the way to the ministry, that we couldn’t actually physically get to that ministry. We had asked for an extension, and they had agreed, but the another company who had got in, basically because they were on the other side of the Nile, we were on this side, they were on that side, you know, like they didn’t have to go through the protest streets. They, they won. You know, maybe they had the better file, whatever. But we kind of looked at it and went, they delivered on time, and they had a good proposal, and even though we got a slight extension, all those little things worked in their favor and against us. Now, maybe … maybe we would lost it anyway. Sure. But it’s an illustrative example of the challenges that we consistently faced in that post-revolution times.

Arthur Attwell 26:33
That’s amazing. Once that got harder and harder and you moved away from that side of the business, you essentially had to rebuild in some new direction. What was next?

Ramy Habeeb 26:45
Well, so we, we, I started doing more kind of consultancy, and like working in the Middle East and stuff like that, so that, you know, so I was still with the company in that sense. Then we basically just tried to leverage our existing collections at a higher level. Slowly, the business started to come back, like the multinational companies started to invest more, so that slowly start to come. It was really about just weathering the storm, and kind of building any bridges we could while the storm was going on. Once all that kind of cleared up, it started to return. At this point, you know, I had spent so many years into the company and so much time and effort into the company, I was like, okay, it’s time to do something else. This was the point where … once the company kind of breathed again, and was stable again. That was when I felt comfortable to do the next thing.

Arthur Attwell 27:41
Now casting my, our minds back to Okinawa. Looking up at, on what you’ve done over the years, I came across the Atama-ii Books series, which just looks fantastic. I assume there’s some connection to your Japanese English teaching?

Ramy Habeeb 28:00

Arthur Attwell 28:00
Tell me more about that.

Ramy Habeeb 28:02
So Atama-ii was a company, or is a company I should say, that was started by Marcos Benevides. I hope I’m not butchering his last name, I just know him as Marcos. He’s a university professor in Tokyo, but at the time that I was teaching English at a high school, he was also teaching English in another high school. I had left but he had stayed and kind of built himself up there. At a certain point, he took a look around at some of the challenges that students were having in learning English, and he went, it’s boring! It’s boring to learn another, especially the way the Japanese teach English in school, like I mean, as someone at least I mean, I shouldn’t speak maybe it’s different now, but when I was there, it was it was like … You know, they they once asked us, you know, is this a good textbook? The answer universally was, to kill cockroaches, yes. For anything else? No. Right? You know, like, it was just like, Hello, how are you? You know, and 15-year-olds aren’t interested in this, right?

Ramy Habeeb 29:12
He came up with this idea of writing a choose-your-own-adventure story where the idea is, you choose your own adventure, right and, and but there’s repetition in the language. So in going through this adventure, and the various outcomes of this adventure, you’re being exposed to phrases and vocabulary again, and again, and again, and again. He he asked me to write a book for it. I wrote Hunter in the Darkness, because, you know, vampires. I love it, right. And my book won an award. I’m paraphrasing here, but the judge basically said something akin to, I would be remiss not to nominate this book - this was during the nomination fee, phase - because it is a student favourite, but it is certainly not anything I would enjoy.

Arthur Attwell 30:04
[LAUGHS] I read some of it this morning. It is, it’s wild, it’s fun, and just such a great idea. Just, choose-your-own-adventure books to learn a language just blows me away. You know, in some ways, it’s a complete transition from Kotobarabia and everything you did there, but in another way it’s this space you seem to inhabit between languages and cultures and places. I just found that really interesting that that seems to be where you really seem to shine.

Ramy Habeeb 30:35
Yeah, it was an awesome project. Prior to that, I had worked on another project with, again, another English teacher in Japan, where we did a murder mystery. I wrote and voiced the characters because there’s a little animation series. I forget the lines now, but it was like, I needed to find out who killed Brad Peter. It was all about Brad Peter being murdered. I mean, and then in the end, he wasn’t murdered. He was just visiting his aunt or something like that, right. But there was blood, that, it wasn’t blood it was jam, it was that kind of stuff. We, I think that the space I’ve always occupied, and I still occupy is kind of like, somewhat disruptive ways to learn, or to engage with content is what I’ve always kind of gravitated towards. Certainly living in the multiple cultures has been quite useful for it.

Ramy Habeeb 31:34
Another project that I also worked on, but that unfortunately, that one never took off, but it was a I was the one that I love the most, I wish it had … Again, you have to remember, this is like 2004, but we were looking at rap songs, specifically, like, or pop songs, let’s say, and then translating the pop songs in a meaningful way to people who didn’t speak English. You know, you know, because rap songs or pop songs, they’re playing with the language. Right? And so you’re getting that … That was an awesome one, but ultimately, that got buried in rights. Because lyrics of whatnot were very difficult to negotiate, and still are very difficult to negotiate. So yeah, no, it was a, it was it was a fun project.

Arthur Attwell 32:21
These days, what are you working on most?

Ramy Habeeb 32:23
Yeah, so these days, actually, I’ve finally transitioned into what I’ve always wanted to do. A big part of my focus is writing fiction now. I’ve written numerous novels in my own universe called the GoneGod World. I have several co authors who, we’re all writing in the GoneGod as well. Basically the premise is, is that one day the gods, all of them, they leave, and they exile all their denizens down onto Earth. So Minotaurs, centaurs, oni, demons, fairies, fae, like basically every mythical creature from every tradition imaginable are suddenly living amongst us. I have a Minotaur who’s like, I used to guard the labyrinth of Minos, now I deliver pizza, you know.

Ramy Habeeb 33:14
Stories set in this universe with all these mythical creatures and humans trying to get along, and it really does play on the clash of cultures, you know, because all the different species of myth have different ways to interact and engage. You know, one of my best short stories follows a Jackal God which so if you know Egyptian mythology, a Jackal God is like one of Anubis’s dudes, right. His name was Aau, which I’m sure in ancient Egyptian meant something like St. Paul. But it, Aau, right, he’s a real mythical creature, and you know, he’s sitting there in his crappy apartment, looking out of his kitchen window and watching this father just really be borderline abusive to his child. And sitting there going, is this how humans raise their children? Because it doesn’t seem very nice. Like, you know there’s that cultural disconnect. In this story, he figures out that no, this is not how humans raise their kids and that this father is an ass and intervenes. He’s like, I can no longer protect Ra, but I can protect this child.

Arthur Attwell 34:31

Ramy Habeeb 34:32
It’s all stories like that.

Arthur Attwell 34:34
That sounds brilliant. Are these things we can find? Are they already published or are they still on the way?

Ramy Habeeb 34:38
Yeah, it’s all on Amazon. I do publish under Ramy Vance, not Ramy Habeeb. Vance is my middle name. I wanted to separate the Arabic publishing from a series of books about the gods leaving

Arthur Attwell 34:53
Fair enough.

Arthur Attwell 34:55
Ramy, thank you so much. This has been so much fun. I’ve loved hearing those stories again, and some ones I had never heard before. I’m looking forward to discovering the Ramy Vance books. Thank you so much.

Arthur Attwell 35:08
Thank you very much. Thank you.

Arthur Attwell 35:11
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Arthur Attwell 35:28
How Books Are Made is supported by Electric Book Works, where my team and I make books all day, every day in mostly-sunny Cape Town, South Africa.