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Growing our love for reading with Bookish.ae

If you love books, you always want to have something to read. Even if you are super busy, you want the satisfaction of having read just a page or two. I was an avid reader before Little Dude came along, and then I just never found the time to go and buy books, and even to really sit down and read. But I made sure I read to him from early on, and I'm glad he loves books as much as I do.

For books, I really do prefer online shopping because it's easy to find book reviews online, and you really don't have to see the physical book before ordering. Gone are the days when, back in India, I had the luxury of spending an hour or more in a book shop flipping through their collections. But here in Dubai, I couldn't find a site good enough to browse and buy books from. Also, I couldn't reconcile the fact that the same books here cost me double than they did back home.

I had made a resolution to read more this year, and I am so glad to have found Bookish.ae. This Dubai-based website allows you to borrow books and return them in exchange for more books! They have a huge and growing collection of fiction, non-fiction and children's books. I like that they also feature Middle Eastern authors and many region-specific books such as Ramadan books for children.

You can choose from various plans to suit you, starting with as little as AED 49 per month, and special rates when you sign up for six months. We recently signed up for the Book Family Program that allows us to borrow four adult books and four children's books at a time. There is no limit on the number of books we can borrow per month, as long as we return the ones we've read.

The website itself is neat and quite user-friendly. You can browse their collection and add the ones you like to your queue.


Bookish delivers all over Dubai, but different days have been assigned for different areas, that you can find on their site. We received our first delivery along with a welcome toy. We didn't use all our quota of eight books, but I like that our plans allows for this flexibility. The books were in great condition, and we took care while reading them too.


Another good thing about the service is that you don't have to return a book at the end of the month as long as your membership is still active, and there are no late fees or due dates.

We will also be taking advantage of their free Reading Programs for members, especially the storytelling sessions for kids.


I caught up Eden, founder of Bookish.ae to know more about 
how this service came about, and all that they have to offer: 


Tell us a little about yourself and how you decided to launch Bookish.


I'm from Atlanta, Georgia USA and I have been in Dubai for more than 9 years. Although my background is in engineering and urban planning, I came here to work as a teacher for an institute. I liked Dubai so much, I stayed.

I created Bookish.ae to 'scratch my own itch.' I've always loved reading and when I was pregnant with my daughter, I read 8 to 12 books a month because I had stopped working full-time. I struggled to find affordable books and I couldn't really go to the library all the time. I suffered in silence for years, committing the ultimate reader's sin: reading cheap books because they were cheap, not because they were good :)

Once my daughter was a little older, I decided to launch a concept based on the Netflix subscription model rather than a pay-per-rental concept that most libraries operate under. From the very beginning, I wanted to focus on print books because the print is the essence of 'book magic.' There's so much that's lost when you read a book as an ebook. Moreover, since I am committed to literacy and pre-literacy, I wanted to get children involved with the tactile experience that books offer.

I knew that I was creating a reading niche for myself with being print only, but I felt it was time for the book lovers of Dubai to unite.


What are your plans with the service, and how have people responded so far?


So far, the response has been great! We haven't even been in business 6 months but we have a very loyal core of members. Almost every week, I get emails and pictures from moms of their children reading or looking through books we've sent them. Everyone who has joined, even the adults, tell me that they eagerly await their book deliveries. I'm proud to say that we have a robust library, a growing children's collection (including books that are not sold in the UAE), and a weekly story time to serve little book lovers.

Currently, we're adding about 100 books a week and we want to double our collection by the end of the year (to more than 10,000 books). Eventually, we'll add European language books (which can be hard to find locally).

Over the next several months, we'll be introducing more member reading programs. We'd like to have a Book to Art Club for children 8 to 12 years  old. Book to Art Clubs are somewhat of a recent "movement" in the USA. It's like a traditional book club but kids do an art project related to a set of books while talking about the book. Further in the future, we want to introduce a princess or explore themed story time for 6 to 9 year olds.

Even further in the future, we want to bring more global concepts related to reading and books to Dubai.  

Do you have any special promotions coming up?


We have a Summer Reading Challenge that will kick off in July. Our theme this year is "Be a Smart Cookie: READ." Kids (and parents) will track the amount of time they read during July and August on a reading record that we'll provide. Everyone who reads more than 600 minutes (10 minutes a day) get a free book from Bookish.ae. Everyone who reads more than 800 minutes gets a free book and entered into a special prize drawing. Details will be announced soon.

Needless to say, we're hooked! For more information, visit the Bookish.ae website or email them on [email protected] for queries.



This post has been brought to you in collaboration with Bookish.ae, but all views and opinions are my own.


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