Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ask my bookshelves, and they’ll tell you how sinful my addiction to buying books really is. I just can’t seem to help myself from picking up a book I like when I see one. But now that I’m in Dubai and on a penny pinching student budget, I find books to be quite expensive, especially good ones.

If you’re like me, here’s a handy go-to guide to buy and borrow books in Dubai within a budget. I’m sure there are more places than the ones I’ve mentioned here. If you know any more, do add to the list by commenting!


You would have seen Borders at a couple of malls in Dubai. The good thing about this store is that they often have bundle offers going on. This is not the place to go for great books, but if you like popular books, you can buy 2 or 3 of them for AED 50-60, which is relatively cheap. During their sales, books start at AED 10.

Plus, they usually have a Starbucks, so you can pick up a book or magazine for free and enjoy it with fresh coffee. Who doesn’t like that?

Find this in most malls including Dubai Mall, Ibn Battuta, Mall of the Emirates and DeiraCity Centre.

Book World:

The musty smell of second-hand books hits you as soon as you open the door to this bookworm’s paradise. High shelves crammed with books that are at great prices fill the space. They also have baskets of comics and assorted books that go for anything from AED 2 to AED 10. And the collection is quite eclectic. I can spend hours buried in the wonderful and strange books here.

The best part is, you can buy a book you like, read it and if you return it, you will get 50% of the price back. This is also a circulating library, so if you are a regular reader, make sure you take a look at their many membership plans that cater to different reading styles.

Call 04 349 1914

Also sell them your old books.

The Old Library:
Yes, this is the oldest library in the UAE (I wonder why they called it old when they had just opened it). This is primarily a circulating library. Membership is a bargain AED 200 for a year,and AED 50 for registration. You can take books as often as you like, but you cannot borrow more than 8 books at once.

So far, this and Book World have the best collection of books I’ve seen in Dubai.
Most of the books are on sale, but there’s a shelf near the opening that has books for AED 2, AED 5, AED 10 and AED 15. If you’re lucky, you’ll go home with a great bargain.

Ask for the DUCTAC section of Mall of the Emirates and you’ll find The Old Library there. has all the information you need.

This is possibly the UAE’s first and largest online bookstore, with over 1million titles. Here you can subscribe to magazines and newspapers, buy books, book concert tickets and buy stationery. They don’t really have bargain prices, but then you have the convenience of ordering from home. Their interface is quite user-friendly too.

Don’t have a credit card? Don’t worry. has the option of cash on delivery, making it easier than ever to get books. ‘nuff said.


No list of book stores would be complete without this. The largest bookstore in the UAE, it houses a selection of half a million books and thousand magazines over a massive 68,000 square feet. You’ll find academic books to children’s books as well as some funky stationery and interesting bookmarks. It’s definitely worth more than one visit. The prices range from affordable to expensive, but if it’s a book you can’t find anywhere else in Dubai, why not splurge a little?

www.kinokuniya .com/aeeven has an online catalogue where you can see if the book you’re looking for is available in-store. Located in Dubai Mall.

By Georgina Elizabeth Paul

The writer is a second year postgraduate student pursuing Media and Communications and specializing in Journalism.