Dubai, 16th January 2012
Although I am still busy reading ‘1Q84’, I cannot wait any longer to spend the book vouchers I got for Christmas. My husband always struggles with my request for book vouchers; he thinks it’s like giving money: not a real present, thoughtless. I think it’s the best: I get a present, i.e. said vouchers, then I get to spend a few hours strolling round a bookstore, picking, reading, choosing books; then I buy then, take them home, arrange them on my ‘yet to read’ shelf, and then – I get to read them. To me book vouchers are the present that keeps on giving. But then, I do have a bit of a book problem…
Anyway, if you are similarly inclined, I thought I’d share with you the best places in Dubai to get books, and there are plenty.
My absolute favourite is Kinokuniya. It is a huge store in Dubai Mall, and they have a fabulous assortment. I have yet to wander in and come out with nothing. Well organised, helpful staff, and soo much to choose from!
There is Borders, found in most malls. Although I was ecstatic when Borders first arrived in Dubai, I now avoid it. For some reason they always have a sale on, and whilst that is normally a good thing, it means that all their books are out of order, nothing arranged alphabetically and trying to find anything specific is a nightmare. Also, for some reason they never seem to sell the books I am looking for. I agree that I have rather eclectic taste, but they seem to specialise on romance and general tatt, at least here in Dubai…
Magrudy’s used to be great but has sadly gone downhill, also closing some stores. I think it’s just the way it seems to go at the moment. Either people don’t read and if they do read, often now it’s e-books. I do feel for sorry for bookstores. But silly attitudes don’t help the state of affairs: I was listening to a radio request show the other day and the presenter was asking a listener who had phoned n what she was doing. She said she was sitting on the sofa reading a book. His reply was: ”You are reading a book??” As if she had just confessed to pulling out her own toenails one by one. Idiot.
If you like to read, but not spend too much, then there are a couple of good second-hand bookstore chains around. House of Prose, at Jumeirah Plaza and in Dubai Garden Centre, sell a great variety of second-hand books, and you’ll get 50 per cent of your money back, if you return the book after you’ve read it. The same concept works for Book & Bean (in Ace Hardware Store at Festival City), a coffee cum book shop, where you can chill, chat and read.
For those who simply want to borrow, Dubai has a couple of good libraries, one in Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, with an annual membership of Dhs200 plus a small book lending fee; and the brand-new Read’n’Enjoy on JBR (Rimal Plaza), where the membership costs Dhs600 per year, but book lending is free.
Enjoy your books!