Blind Date With A Book In Dubai? Buy Without Knowing Titles At This Store

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Tue 21 Nov 2023, 1:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Nov 2023, 1:28 PM

A bookstore in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) is spicing up the reading game with their latest venture - 'Blind Date' books. Here's the twist: you pick a book without knowing its title or author - you choose solely based on hints and descriptions.“It's like going on a literary blind date where the story's the star,” said Somia Anwar of Bookends, a bookstore and marketplace for pre-loved books.

Co-owner Grace Karim sees this creative concept as a way to encourage people to explore books they might not pick up otherwise, fostering curiosity and adventure in reading.“It's a fantastic way to break free from reading habits and discover new authors, genres, or themes,” she notes.

Here's how the Blind Date works: books are wrapped in brown paper covers, concealing the actual cover and title. Instead, the exterior is adorned with hints, clues, or a concise description of the book's content, including keywords indicating the genre, themes, or mood.

“Once readers have selected their wrapped book, they take it home without unwrapping it. The surprise element adds an exciting and mysterious dimension to the reading experience," explains Karim.

Touted as the UAE's first digital platform for buying and selling used books, Bookends was founded by mompreneurs Grace Karim and Somia Anwar. Their first physical location opened in July 2023, marking a significant leap from their start in 2020. The online live auction, initiated nearly two years ago, has gained popularity.

Last Saturday, Bookends drew book enthusiasts nationwide with its monthly online live auction, featuring diverse books with bids starting at a budget-friendly Dh20. Grace Karim, co-founder of Bookends, the move aims to "encourage reading as more people stray away in preference of social media and online streaming."

During the live event, Grace and Somia presented coveted titles, engaging viewers like old friends. The standout was the selection of sought-after manga, with some reaching prices as much as Dh40 higher than the starting bid, remaining easily affordable.

Grace fondly recalls a time when customers eagerly awaited the return of Bookends' monthly auction after a temporary pause during the establishment of its physical store. Beyond auctions, Bookends has been a hub for engaging community events, including a book carnival for kids featuring games centered around books. They've also introduced a book club called 'Tales and Talks,' encouraging attendees to bring their favoruite books for lively discussions. Additionally, Bookends has organized writing workshops tailored for kids.

According to Karim, the success of these community-building events stems from Bookends being "a pure bookstore solely about books, unlike traditional bookstores that branch out for commercial reasons into toys, games, and accessories." "Bookends isn't just a store; it's a vibrant community fostering a love for reading through diverse and enjoyable events," she says.


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