Readers at the “Soor al-Azabkeya” - Mira Maged Readers at the “Soor al-Azabkeya” - Mira Maged

Al-Azbakeya at CIB, a magnificent world of books

Sat, Feb. 3, 2018
CAIRO – 3 February 2018: Crowds at the Soor al-Azabkeya tent at the Cairo International Book Fair have been growing year-by-year. Soor al-Azabkeya is a book market open all year round the Ataba area of Cairo, but the market is also represented each year at the CIB.

Soor al-Azbekaya is a place that offers a world of books in various fields; from academic, literature, politics, to self-development amongst many other specializations. The collections also include both rare books that are no longer in print and new books with affordable prices unmatched by most modern bookshops.

Once you step your feet in the Azbakeya area, you will find Hamada al-Saeedi standing in front of his booth and shouting out: “The most expensive book here is for 10 LE.” In this booth, one can easily find important books in miscellaneous fields for 2 or 3 LE.

Books about prominent Egyptian rulers such as Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat and Gamal Abdel Nasser written by witnesses from these eras such as Moussa Sabry, an Egyptian editorialist and former confidant of President Sadat, are available too.

If you are a fan of the western literature, you will find significant novels such as the political “Animal Farm” and “1984” both by George Orwell as well as “The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins for low prices of between 25 or 30 LE.

Abd el-Tawab Saeed, owner of “Ekraa” (Read), a bookshop in Al-Sayeda Zainab, told Egypt today that the most special thing about Soor al-Azbakeya’s presence at the book fair is the diversity of books available, satisfying the needs of all kind of readers.

Many booths at Azabkeya specialize in selling only second hand books, meaning some true rarities can be found. At “Awlad Abdo” (Abdo’s Sons) you can find an exceptional collection of Russian literature; which, as Mohammed Hassan, a vendor there, told Egypt Today is almost available nowhere else. This collection includes some selected volumes for one of the greatest writers in history, the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.

Politics, economics and religion are also well represented at the Azebkeya area of the fair, there are some substantial pickups from Mao Zedong, a Chinese communist revolutionary and political theorist, and from Al-Qurtubi a famous Islamic mufassir.

With his long experience as a bookselling, Hassan said that there are some readers who usually prefer reading historical books in their old dusty original editions. He showed us a vintage copy of the well known book “Capital” by the renowned German philosopher, economist, historian and political theorist Karl Marx.

Vintage copy for the “Capital” by Karl Marx - Mira Maged

Also, if you are a vintage magazine and newspapers collector, you shouldn’t miss out the numerous editions that have released over 80 years ago for 2 or 3 LE, there.

Rare old newspaper editions - Mira Maged

As Egypt Today has previously reported, the 49th round of the Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF) has witnessed a massive turnout on Friday, up to 400,000 visitors, bringing the total number to 2.5 million during the fair’s first week, according to Haitham al-Hajj Ali, the head of the General Egyptian Book Organization.

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