Page Turner Kuwait

Happy new year dear readers! The last day of the 2016 was so hectic for me, my husband and I enrolled in gym, for me to lose weight and for him to gain muscles. We spent the day on the beach, had lunch in Pizza Express (our favorite) and did some shopping.

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But what was so interesting that day is that I got my first Kuwaiti blogging/social media gift from a juvenile startup business run by young girls who love books. They sell used or previously owned books and buy your old books, kind of a recycling website. This website is called Page Turner Kuwait, which finds new homes for old books.

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The girls run their own website, do their own delivery and orders personally. I didn’t know that when the assignment came my way, but when I received my package yesterday I learned much about this new promising business.

Mais Dawleh sent me an instagram message back in early December saying:

Hello Dana!

We’ve noticed that we share a passion for books and reading and we would like to introduce ourselves. Page Turner is a new online platform for people across Kuwait to sell and buy books and is run by a group of students and alumni. Page Turner’s objective is to encourage people of all ages to become as passionate as we are and develop a love for reading books in addition to increasing the level of readership in Kuwait.

We’re fans of both your blog Dana’s Sanctuary and Instagram and would be delighted to offer you the chance to order a book via Page Turner (free of charge) to allow us the opportunity to present to you all that Page Turner has to offer.

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To encourage them to success, I order three extra books, but I think for used books the prices should be lower, even if they are like new.

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I got The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis, The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich, If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins,and Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl by Tracy Quan. But there was a complication in delivery time punctuality, though the cute packaging made up for that.

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It’s great to encourage startup businesses to success, I hope everyone would visit their website and check what they have to offer!

Happy New Year and keep on reading! x

Buying Books in Kuwait

I can’t believe it, but next month, after the new year would mark two years of marriage and two years since I moved to Kuwait! You can almost say I’m a local now! After the success of my previous post Where to Shop for Books in Kuwait, I got a LOT of questions, so I decided to write down some of the tips I would have found useful when I arrived here.

I’ve went out of my way to find books in Kuwait and I discovered many interesting things; you see Amman is open, there isn’t many secret locations and underground ways to buy anything (as far as I know) but Kuwait is different, there are layers, surprises and many ways to locate what you are looking for.

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The way bookshops even arrange their books is chaotic to me. Upon entering a bookshop no matter where you enter, make sure to browse the WHOLE shop! You might find what you are looking for because the system isn’t accurate, a shop clerk might tell you: “We don’t have the book you are asking for.” While you are either holding it in your hands, or just stumbled upon it. This happened to me a couple of times in Jarir Bookstore and That AlSalasil, still, they’re my favorite bookstores in Kuwait, the staff are friendly, they’re clean and there are more options in both stores than any other place in Kuwait, also there is always new books to see every few weeks.

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The other thing is, if you like books in English, you must be patient, they are NEVER set together, they would be scattered. You might find a great fiction book set in the Young Adult section, or YA in Kids section and so forth.

If you are looking for the Arabic Classics be ready to be disappointed, your chances to locate a translated edition is higher than the actual book, many are prohibited which I find absurd like Kahlil Gibran and Alaa Al Aswany’s books! So if you have a list certain of books, I recommend Beirut or Cairo for the oldies, or sudden book fairs and small stationary shops, yup, you heard me, they have a LOT of great editions, because the merchandise are chosen by the owners. Still, many of my books are still from home, Amman.

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Another good way is to browse Instagram for individual sellers like Chapter One Bookstore and LAVENDER STOP, they both deliver to your house door and take a delivery fee. I bought a book from Chapter One, I felt it was over the price (I later found the same book, half the price) but the packaging was so cute.

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Another good place to find books is used bookstores such as Q8books, people from all over, giveaway and donate books, your chances are high in finding books as good as new! I used to buy books from Bayt Lothan but it closed, I found such great editions, it’s a shame.

In any case, if you have any other questions or inquiries, please comment below, thank you for reading!

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Where to Shop for Books in Kuwait

Since I came here, I was vastly disappointed by the lack of books and variety, so I needed to discover all the bookshops available, form an opinion and go from there to what to do next. Which is naturally to order through internet and use a shipping company such as Aramex.

Here is a list of all the available shops I discovered and their locations and what they have:

Number One
That Al-Salasil | ذات السلاسل

That Al-Salasil has many branches, I discovered 5 locations so far, but there isn’t different variety in the collection. It has two branches in the Avenues Mall, the main one is larger, but I prefer the smaller one because it has more English books, and it’s closer to Frozen Ice Cream (another story, another post… soon!). The third branch is in Al Hamra Tower, tiny but has good YA novels. The fourth one is in the Marina Crescent, and the last one is on the way to Old Salmiyah, too tiny and old for my taste.

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In the Avenues Main bookstore.

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In the Marina Crescent.

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The small shop in The Avenues also.

Number Two
Jashanmal |  جاشنمال

Jashanmal is by far my favorite bookstore in Kuwait, it’s located in the ground floor in 360° Mall, it has a good collection of books and sometimes magazines, the latest cooking books I got were from this cute shop.

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Number Three
Jarir | جرير

Jarir is not just a bookstore, it has many stationary and art supply, and by far I think it has the largest updated collection of both Arabic and English books. I just wish that books weren’t a taboo here, I mean if they don’t like the cover or the title, they either don’t bring it OR worst, they would tarnish it with black marker as they do magazines to me this is a crime of first degree! Jarir of course isn’t the only place that does that, all the other bookstores are also under this terrible spell.

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Number Four
Bayt Lothan | بيت لوذان

Bayt Lothan kind of reminds me of Books@Cafe in Amman, it sells used books only in great condition, most of the sold books haven’t even been used, the spines usually are intact, you can find great editions there, but don’t count on finding the whole series! Bayt Lothan also is a great place to give your books to or exchange it with. Some local groups have their book club meetings there which is cool.

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Number Five
Al Muthana Complex | مجمع المثنى

I don’t remember the name of this shop for many reason, the first that it’s horrible, a messy old bookstore that’s about to close, that’s why I used the name of the building rather than the store. Seriously, it has nothing except a collection of withering books collecting the dust. Don’t bother visiting, not worth the effort.

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Number Six
S&S | أس أند أس

This tiny bookstore is located in Layla Gallery which is a mall, ground floor, mostly sells kids books and very few YA books, but it has an order service, so if you want a certain book they will deliver, haven’t tried it because I still order from my book dealer back home.

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I guess that’s mostly it, which is depressing, if you dear reader know any other good bookstores I’m all ears. I wish Kuwait will expand its horizons not just in trade and commerce in other department such as book, and food products, some brands are overpowering the market which isn’t fair to anyone, especially people like me who like quantity and variety. On a last point, I think it’s time to change and be more open-minded about books, magazines and womanhood. There’s nothing wrong about the female body or even romance in books. It’s all healthy.

Stay “ocean” minded. x