Regardless if bookworm or casual reader, you’ll definitely find your comfort zone in the cozy atmosphere of Bikya Bookstore. Customers can sip their drinks in a laid-back atmosphere while enjoying a good read or watching a live musician perform. That’s what makes Bikya Bookstore a special place setting new standards for the competition.
The idea of this project emerged last Ramadan when five friends defined Girl Power and came up with a new idea that is obviously a result of passion. Rana El Faramawy, Reem Khamis, Yara Taha, Sarah Boctor and Nancy El Hady are the masterminds behind this project.
“We had the money and the concept and we said why not? We didn’t get actual help from our parents but they were really supportive to the idea. We’ve been good friends for a long time and we’ve all share this passion for books. We used to go to the Azbakeyya Market where they sell used books and I never understood why a person ‘should’ buy first hand books. There was this time in our lives when we used to take the metro to go and buy books and my God we used to read one book a day!”, Rana Faramawy tells us.
Bikya Bookstore buys and sells used books and the price of the book depends on its condition. There are also dedicated customers who are just happy to give their books to the store for free. The bookstore offers various sections and the partners hope that by time they will keep the right balance for all sections. There is a shortage in modern Arabic books like of Alaa El Aswany’s or Ahmed El Esseily, for example, as readers don’t give away their recently read books easily, especially if they were in a good condition.“English books as well as books about politics and religion are easily made available. Arabic books by great authors like Ehsan Abdel Kudoos for instance are also widely available. I noted that foreigners like to read books that talk about spirituality while most of Egyptians prefer to read light fiction novels. I was surprised by the amount of people who are reading in Egypt. When we joined the “Cultural Corner”, lots of customers came to buy books. What really amazed me is that it was on a Friday noon and we heard the Imam at the mosque encouraging people to visit the Cultural Corner after the Friday Prayer! That was really huge! People are starting to be more aware to the importance of reading”, Rana adds.
What’s so cool about Bikya?
- You can put down a book and enjoy live performances by RashRadio, Shady Ahmed, Salalem, Stand Up Comedy acts and many others.
- You can boost your cultural and political consciousness through their seminars (when people were confused to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the referendum, Bikkya hosted a seminar to talk about the results of each opinion).
- It’s a great place for socializing and networking and you can have lots of fun sharing board games as everyone there is pretty friendly.
- The owners of the bookstore are young, hip and welcoming so feel free to let them help you choose the perfect read.
- You could meet up with your favorite authors at book signing events.
- Every now and then there is a popcorn entertainment night as they play a classical movie and serve popcorn! (That’s our favorite event).
- They’re auctioning books, which sounds like great fun.
Firsthand Advice we thought to share:
- It’s great to publish your first book but make sure that it’s really worth reading. People rarely publish their first book. Readers need to connect to the plot, we’ve had enough of Jane met John, we should start tackling stories that talk about a local level we’ve had it with that Americanized setting.
- If you have a new project or an idea in the pipeline, just go for it. You’ll surprise yourself by the amount of support you’ll get, just be brave.
- Read self-help books which tackle relationships issues but just for the laughs and don’t connect the advice given with your own relationship as it won’t be relevant at all to our society.