Muslim countries must do more to promote books and reading, the Saudi Press Agency reported one of the world’s largest Islamic organizations as saying.The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), which was founded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation 40 years ago, called on Muslim countries to improve the publishing industry, provide copyright protection, and preserve manuscripts by digitizing them so that current and future generations could benefit from them. It made the comments ahead of World Book and Copyright Day, a UN event celebrated on April 23.ISESCO said that knowledge and science in Muslim communities soared when printing was discovered, adding that paper books would remain a pillar of culture and a driver for development because civilization was founded on the discovery of writing. Critical shortage of ‘reading rates’ and ‘lack of access to books’ deplored“The media through which knowledge and sciences were transferred have varied with the advent of the information and communications technology revolution,” ISESCO said. “The world now has digital as well as paper books and, in spite of this great leap achieved by humanity to disseminate knowledge and sciences, there is a critical shortage of reading rates, and a large segment of people lack access to books and intermediate technologies. In addition, certain categories of people, such as the visually impaired, do not benefit from a large number of publications.”The ISESCO statement mentioned statistics that showed an increase in the proportion of published books compared with previous years, which were characterized by a decline in the sector. ISESCO said the functions of paper and digital books were evenly divided.