We can all agree that collecting books is a healthy obsession, which is why the brand new Q8 Bookstore is a great addition to the literary community in Kuwait. Created by a group of volunteers and based in Bayt Lothan, the concept behind this particular bookstore is interesting. Anyone can donate their books and get store credit to buy books from the store. Most of the books that are sold there are used so they sell at good prices. With hopes in promoting reading and writing in Kuwait, the variety of English and Arabic books available is outstanding.
Find out how the community space got started and its future plans in the following interview with Fajer Ahmad, one of the founders of Q8 Bookstore…
How did it all start with Q8 Bookstore?
Q8books was previously located in Salhiya and owned by a well-read man, Mr.Jacob, and it ran successfully for 10 years and had many loyal and regular customers including myself. One day however, Mr Jacob decided he wanted to sell the bookstore, and because it was one of my favourite places in Kuwait I did not want to see it go down. I wanted to give people the same joy I got when I walked in, and therefore I decided to buy the bookstore from him.
I started researching where to move the store to and how I can get more and more people to read. I started emailing community centres and no one replied, till one day Bayt Lothan said they will support us and provide us with the place for free.
What was your main goal behind the bookstore?
Our main goal is to promote reading and writing in Kuwait. We do so by hosting kids reading every Saturday, we also host writing competitions and various events related to reading and writing. We believe in supporting local authors, so if you are a local author and would like to sell your work at Q8books please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
Who are the people behind it?
The idea started with myself and along the way I was joined by a fantastic group of people including my partner Tareq Al Ibrahim. I have an amazing team of volunteers that are hardworking and creative, we all have different strengths and different weaknesses, but we meet once in a while and try to plan something, and then share the workload.
Can you tell us more about the process of selling and re-selling books?
We have a collection of around 15,000 books, around 99% of which is used books, so they sell for very reasonable prices. People can return the books they have purchased and will receive half of their value in store credit, which goes towards their next purchase. People can also donate their own books in exchange for some store credit. We accept any kind of books except for academic textbooks.
How do you wish to expand in the future?
Our main aim is to continue building up our collection of both fiction and non-fiction books. We recently introduced an Arabic section to the bookstore that we are currently trying to expand. So if you have any Arabic books you would like to donate, please pass by the store at anytime.
We are also branching out and hosting writing workshops at the bookstore. Hopefully we’ll be having more events that promote reading and writing in Kuwait.
For more information, follow them on Instagram to view their latest updates @q8bookstore
– Fajer Al Farsi