Radio Farda:

If you write a book in Manx Gaelic, a Celtic language thought dead until recently, you can use Amazon's self-publishing service to get your book to the estimated 1,800 people who can read and speak Manx, most of them on the Isle of Man.

If you write in Persian, on the other hand, a language spoken by more than 100 million people around the world, you can't get onto any e-readers through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Thanks in part to Amazon's decision to merge its Kindle Direct and CreateSpace services last year -- but by some accounts also due to fear of U.S. financial sanctions aimed at punishing Tehran's behavior and its weapons programs -- Amazon's self-publishing services don't currently support Persian, also known as Farsi.

The resulting exclusion catches Iranians around the world in the crossfire of a diplomatic dispute, say critics trying to get Persian onto Kindle, and misses a chance to encourage free speech at the same time.

Amazon, the world's largest book retailer, allows authors to publish books through Kindle Direct, which boasts "hundreds of thousands of authors" since its launch in 2007, making books accessible within a few days to tens of millions of potential buyers and readers worldwide...

An online petition launched in Canada and signed by more than 14,000 people calls on Amazon to once again support Persian. It cites Persian culture and literature's place as "one of the greatest throughout history."

Its organizer, Toronto-based Iranian poet and translator Mahyar Mazloumi, also argues that establishing Kindle Direct in Persian would be a "huge step to fight censorship and promote freedom of speech."


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