New IsDBI E-Book Reader App Offers Access to 500+ Publications

01 Feb, 2023

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The growing availability of e-content has prompted most people to read more and to buy digital books which are easy to access on smartphones and tablets. Looking at e-content consumption more broadly and leveraging innovative modern technologies, the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) released a new e-book reader app dedicated to publications in Islamic economics and development.

IsDBI has a long-standing expertise and has been a leader in Islamic economics, banking and finance publishing. Since inception in 1981, the Institute has issued hundreds of publications that include textbooks, conference proceedings, journals, flagship report, research reports and others. The wealth of knowledge created and the experience accumulated over the past four decades made the Institute a pacesetter in this area.

In recent years, however, competition emerged including from global players in the publishing industry who now issue publications in Islamic economics and finance. Some of the major publishers release up to 10 new Islamic economics and finance titles yearly.

Notwithstanding, the Institute has a competitive edge: quality of publications and long experience in the field. To maintain its leadership and remain competitive in this area, the Institute decided to adopt new technologies that could give it an even stronger advantage.

This is the context within which the new ebook reader app was developed. Until now, the Institute’s publications have been available mostly in print and as PDFs accessible via the website. This limited the accessibility and the user experience. The new ebook readers app offers access globally to the Institute’s publications and enhances the user experience.

Over the years many e-book reader apps have come up and competition has led to innovations to meet the demands of readers. The new IsDBI Reader App promises to stay ahead of the curve as a comprehensive, user-friendly application. The app is fitted with quite a number of innovative features that include:

  • Standard and modern reading tools such as bookmarking, search, text highlight, in-built dictionary, ability to attach notes to selected text, and more.
  • A customizable reading experience with a choice of font style, size, etc.
  • Sharing e-book titles and quotes through all social media channels.
  • Ability for the user to track their reading activity such as the number of books read, number of hours of reading, reading speed, and number of shared books.
  • Synchronization across the user’s devices.

The app is currently available through the Apple Store and Google Play, with a desktop expected to be released in 2022. It has also been integrated into the IsDB Institute website, thereby allowing users to purchase publications from the website, and download and read them on the e-book reader app on their devices. Once the publications are downloaded on the device, they can be read even without internet connectivity. The app also allows the users to organize their ebooks into personal collections that will appear across their devices.

Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, IsDBI Acting Director General and IsDB Group Chief Economist said: “Our objective with the new e-reader app is to bring knowledge in Islamic economics up to par. The e-book reader will serve as an innovative, interactive platform with the most modern features and capabilities for e-books on Islamic economics and finance.”

The app was developed in partnership with a technology firm, Koraspond Digital Marketing Agency, a subsidiary of Ethmar Advertising company based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Bilal Saeed, Koraspond’s Business Development Director, said: “In the next phase of our venture, we will be taking the IsDBI Reader App to other platforms, including Windows, Huawei, and Google Chrome, to create wider accessibility. We will also integrate an AI-driven algorithm to suggest relevant books to the readers based on their response and preference.”

Dr. Anis Ben Khedher, Senior Information Solutions Specialist at IsDBI, said, “It is very important to understand the level of performance. When metrics and measurements are defined clearly, it indicates the performance of the application more evidently. Therefore, in our next step, we are working on measuring the app performance based on the predefined KPIs and plan the future improvements.”

Since its launch in January 2022, the app serves as a knowledge repository where users around the world can have a rich experience of reading and browsing Islamic economics and finance publications. Up to 500 e-books are available via the app, covering various subjects and topics including on Islamic economics, finance, development, fintech, Islamic social finance, takaful, and microfinance. Following the launch of the app, more than a thousand ebooks have been downloaded by users from around the world. The user-base is expected to expand tremendously when the desktop cloud version is released.

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