Amazon has announced that it now supports Arabic books on Kindle devices and within the Kindle mobile app.

As one of the world’s top five languages in terms of number of native speakers, Arabic has been a long time coming for Kindle, but it finally now holds the same status as English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and a number of other tongues and dialects.

Above: Arabic books in Kindle

This move also means that the company’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, which has been open to self-publishing authors for six years, is now available to Arabic authors.

According to Amazon, there are 12,000 Arabic-language books in the Kindle store at launch, including those that were originally written in Arabic and English works translated to Arabic.

Language barrier

While Western technology companies have sometimes been slow to expand their services to new languages, supporting Arabic is a no-brainer.

Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant is becoming increasingly multilingual, too, but it’s not yet conversant in Arabic. However, with “voice” emerging as the next big platform, and companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft pushing their respective digital assistants and smart speakers into the consumer realm, it seems only a matter of time before Alexa supports Arabic.