Dubai is well-served by a number of book stores, dotted around the city. The majority of bookstores sell mainly English books with a large Arabic section and some other foreign language titles.
The larger bookstores host literary events throughout the year. These include book readings, talks, workshops and guest appearances by local and international authors. In February 2009, the first international literary festival was held in the city. This attracted authors and visitors from all over the world. This festival was marred by a misunderstanding over the issue of censorship. It was rumored that a novel featuring a gay sheik, The Gulf Between Us by Geraldine Bedell, had been blacklisted from the festival. In actual fact, the director of the festival had simply declined to launch the book at the festival as it was a debut novel by an unknown British author. She also included a list of reasons why she thought the novel might not be popular in the Muslim world and this was seized upon by the international press. Although censorship does exist in the UAE, this is not as marked as it is in some of the other countries in the region and most books are available in Dubai, or can be ordered through one of the major bookstores.
– Umm Suqeim Spinneys Center, Arabian Ranches
These shops carry good collections of popular fiction and non-fiction books.
– Al Safa Center near Park and shop
This small bookstore features a large collection of books for children and young adults.
– Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre
This large bookstore has a wide range of books for children and adults. There is also a popular cafe inside the store which can make shopping for books a whole day experience.
Culture & Co Bookstore
Sheikh Zayed Road
This book store has a good collection of French language books for children and young adults.
Kinokuniya (Book World)
– Dubai Mall
If you can’t find a book you want anywhere else, then you should visit the largest bookstore in Dubai which is located, quite appropriately, in the world’s largest mall. The store is very well organized and contains many specialist books. For young adults, nowhere else can you find such a large selection of game guides, manga and other graphic novels. It also has the largest variety of magazines in the city.
– Jumeirah, Festival City, Dubai Mall, Deira City Center, Burjuman Center, Ibn Battuta Mall
For many expats, none of the newer bookstores in the city can replace Magrudy’s. The first Magrudy’s store opened in 1975 in Jumeirah. It originally specialized in educational toys and school supplies but quickly expanded to sell children’s books. As requests came in for more books, the shop gradually grew. Today, it still has a large children’s section but it is also well-known for books on business, education, and the UAE. It has a large fiction section, both modern best-sellers as well as the classics.
– Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Center, Mercato Mall, Mirdif City Centre
As well as large stocks of music, DVDs and electronics, Virgin Megastores also have large collections of popular fiction and non-fiction books for readers of all ages. The Mall of the Emirates store is the largest in the region and the book section is well worth a visit.
Second-hand book stores
The House of Prose
– Jumeirah Plaza, Ibn Battuta Mall
The Jumeirah branch of The House of Prose was one of Dubai’s first used book stores. Still very popular, this branch has as many as 25,000 books in stock on a very wide range of topics.
– Plant Street in Satwa
This store carries over 45,000 used fiction and non-fiction books.
Archie’s Lending Library & Bookshop
– near Pyramid Building in Karama
First established 14 years ago, Archie’s stocks a wide range of books including business manuals, comic books and literature. A one year membership is AED 75 together with an AED 100 refundable deposit.
The Old Library
– part of the Dubai Community Theatre and Art Centre (DUCTAC) in Mall of the Emirates
The name of this lending library is appropriate as its opening predates the founding of the UAE itself. It was established in 1969 during the Trucial State period when Lady Verney in London sent over the contents of her library for the use of all expats in Dubai, including her grandson who was stationed in the city at the time. Donations of books from members of the expat community followed and the library grew in size. Today it has a collection of over 17,000 books with a large number of books for children and teenagers, a popular adult fiction section, and many books about the Middle East. New books are purchased every month. A one year membership costs AED 150.