Lebanon has always been a hub for printing activities, however the country is recently witnessing a surge in demand for printed products from across the world. Based on a report published in Kuwaiti news agency Kuna more than 75% of Lebanon’s printed products (between 175000 and 200000 tonnes) are being exported to the Arab world, Europe and African markets.
Despite the rise in export, printing industry in Lebanon is facing many challenges including the high cost of shipping, mail and telecommunications, electricity, taxes and other expenses. The lack of specialized printing institutions and vocational schools is also another impediment in the development of the sector.
In an interview with Kuna, the Executive Director of the printing syndicate in Lebanon George Tabarani said that his syndicate is committed to establish a specialized institute for printing in Lebanon in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
He also stressed that in order to create an equal level field all printing presses in Lebanon must have legal licenses. “180 out of 900 Printing Presses in Lebanon are operating without legal permits, most of which are digital printers,” comments Tabarani.
He predicts that digital printing will replace conventional printing within 5 years and there is a real danger that the art of printing is lost forever. According to Tabarani e-books will become the de facto educational tools in schools by replacing printed text books altogether. However Tabarani also believes not everything is doom and gloom. “Using less paper is beneficial for the environment and also saves money and energy in the long run,” concludes Tabarani.