Eman Hylooz: On Digital Technologies and Shifting Reader Preferences

By Essayed Taha

Jordanian computer scientist and entrepreneur Eman Hylooz earned her MBA from the University of Jordan. Hylooz, who has a background in software development, founded Abjjad in 2012, the first and largest Arabic digital reading platform. Backed by seed funding from Oasis500, a Jordanian accelerator, her vision was to revolutionize digital reading in the Middle East. 

Hylooz’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to Arabic literature birthed Abjjad, a subscription platform with over 20,000 Arabic books and novels. Boasting over two million downloads and 3.5 million avid readers, Abjjad has fostered a vibrant community. And in 2023, Hylooz was named one of 20 Women Behind Middle Eastern Tech Brands by Forbes Middle East.

In response to the first question about the challenges she faced and how she adapted, Hylooz wrote: 

“The local and regional bookselling and publishing industry has witnessed significant changes due to digital technologies and shifting consumer preferences. These changes include the rise of digital reading platforms, self-publishing opportunities, the popularity of ebooks and audiobooks, and the use of data and analytics. To adapt, individuals can embrace digital platforms, explore direct-to-consumer models, curate personalized recommendations, foster collaboration, and adapt distribution models. These approaches enable them to reach a wider audience, cater to changing demands, and enhance the reader experience.”

As for the second question about what brings her happiness, Hylooz responded: 

“As the founder of Abjjad, my journey in the book world brings me immense joy and fuels my unwavering passion. I am driven by a deep love for literature, finding inspiration in the captivating stories, diverse perspectives, and boundless imagination that books offer. Witnessing the transformative power of literature on readers’ lives and their emotional connections to the written word fills me with profound fulfillment. The ability to connect with readers is another source of joy, as I engage with individuals who share a love for books and witness the impact of Abjjad, our platform, on their reading experiences. Providing a space for readers to discover new authors, engage in intellectual discussions, and expand their horizons brings a sense of purpose and deep satisfaction.”

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