MAI AL ABRIA – International trend among authors these days is sell their works online. This allows them to reach a much wider audience and get what they’ve worked for faster to their audience.
The development of new apps that allow mobile and convenient reading has also started to gain popularity among bibliophiles.
A few years back, eBooks were launched and it changed the book industry in a lot of ways. To this day, the debate about Ebook vs Print continues to erupt and most of these debates happen online.
The closure of some big bookstore chains has also been a notable trend in this technology driven era which made a lot of book readers wonder whether bookstores are still relevant.
For a group of local entrepreneurs, the international trend may continue to happen but having a dream realised is much more important that the immediate worries brought about by changing times.
Ahmed al Maani with his co-founders Zawan al Sabti, Majda al Hinai and Waleed al Nabhani opened last Saturday their dream project Rawazin Bookshop located in Al Khoudh Muscat.
It’s a realisation of a dream that Ahmed can’t contain announcing on Twitter recently that ‘the dream came true.’
Ahmed said that the bookshop contains a wide variety of Omani, Arabic and international books in all fields: politics, science, sociology, philosophy, religion, cultures and history, art and literature, etc.
He said they have over 4000 book titles to choose from.
Although they are aware of what’s going on abroad, Ahmed said that their biggest aim for coming up with the bookstore is to encourage a culture of reading among people and have them build an eternal friendship with books.
Bookstores after all, still have their avid fan.
A book lover commented that although the mobile option or ebooks are available now, there’s still a big difference of physically holding the book in your hand while reading.
Rose Banguis added that ebooks didn’t really work for her.
“The joy of reading a physical book is different. I’m sure everyone has their preferred style, but for me, sitting in a café or by the beach, it makes a lot of difference to physically flip through the pages. Call it nostalgia or love for the old process, but the smell of the paper and the crispiness of the print, that’s something that ebooks just cannot duplicate,” she added.
Keeping up with international standards, the new book entrepreneurs have put up a “special corner designated to allow people to view the book before making the decision of purchasing it.”
“They can sit reading the book even if they don’t buy it. The aim is to encourage them to read”, Ahmed said.
Ahmed added that they are not only targeting adults but everyone including children.
“There is also a special corner for children and we have plans of holding different activities and workshops here to encourage this segment of the society to read,” he shared.
He is aware that it’s not an easy task.
“Motivating children to read is one of those agony-ecstasy tasks every parent and teacher faces sooner or later. The bookstore aims to turn a young reader’s reluctance into enthusiasm and to develop their oral language,” he said.
As to whether bookstores are still relevant, the entrepreneurs were confident they still have a market. The fact that they themselves pushed for their dream to come true is a testament to how powerful book spaces are.
The bookshop opens from 8.30 am to 12 am in Ramadhan and from 10 am to 10 pm for the rest of the months.