The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

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Where to Shop for Books in Cairo

Al-Azbakiyya AUC Bookstores Diwan Bookstore Tanmia Bookstore Zamalek Bookshop
Where to Shop for Books in Cairo
    written by
    Nada Medhat

    Book shopping is just like any other sort of shopping. A bit of general advice doesn’t really work because the fitting place for you varies according to your specific needs for the books themselves. For this reason, we decided to write an all-inclusive guide to where you can buy books in Cairo.

    Tanmia Bookstore

    Tanmia is one of the most well-known distributors of the biggest Arabic publishing houses across the Middle East. This means that the best of Arabic literature, fiction or non-fiction, as well as the best translations of foreign literature, can be found there. When it comes to prices, theirs aren’t the highest out there but not the cheapest either. They also host many events that you can attend, such as book signings and discussion events where you can meet authors.

    Address: 19 Hoda Shaarawy, Bab Al Louq, Abdeen, Cairo Governorate.

    Al-Azbakiyya Wall Book Market

    We probably don’t need to mention Al-Azbakiyya, but it would be a huge disserve to any list concerning books in Cairo not to include it. The establishment of the bustling open-air market of second-handed and used books dates back to 1907, more than a century ago, and ever since, Al-Azbakiyya has consistently met Cairenes’ demands of books that can’t be found anywhere else. Educational, fiction, non-fiction, and books in many languages can be found. If you go with a list and get overwhelmed by the sheer number of stores and piles of books upon books, then all you need to do is ask any seller, and like Harry Potter’s Ollivander finding the perfect wand for every wizard from thousands, they’ll find precisely what you want. However, the true pleasure of book shopping at Al-Azbakiyya is going with no particular intention letting yourself wander and discover the hidden gems. Prices there vary wildly depending on the demand and value of the book. You can find books for one pound or 500 pounds.

    Address: Ghayt Al Adah, Abdeen, Cairo Governorate

    American University (AUC) Bookstores

    The AUC bookstores are primarily a distributor for AUC Press. The American University in Cairo Press is the Middle East’s leading English-language academic book publisher. Its primary focus is on discovering and reflecting Egypt accurately to both global and local readership. This is reflected across AUC’s three bookstores in Cairo, where you can find original fiction, research books, and English translations of Arabic literature in over 20,000 titles. Prices vary, but they usually lean towards the higher points on the spectrum. AUC bookstores currently deliver all over the city.


    Tahrir Bookstore: AUC Tahrir Square Campus, off Tahrir Square

    New Cairo Campus Shop: New Cairo Campus, Campus Center, beside Food Court.

    Zamalek Bookshop

    Zamalek Bookshop is the oldest operating bookstore in Zamalek. Specialising in novels, Egyptology, non-fiction, and children’s literature, as well as office supplies, it has been meeting the demands of Zamalek residents for more than a decade. It’s mostly in-store shopping, but you can have books delivered if you reside in Zamalek. Prices are incredibly affordable.

    Address: 19, Shagret El Dorr Street Cairo, Cairo Governorate

    Al-Maadi Used Books

    Like Al-Azbakiyya, Al-Maadi Used Books specialises in second-handed books of all kinds and languages. The books are usually in great shape, and generally, you can find gems that have gone out of publication and can’t be found in new bookstores. The prices are low enough as well.

    Address:  29 Road 9, Thakanat al-Maadi Metro station, Cairo.

    Tarek’s book-kiosk

    Heliopolis is full of gems, and Tarek’s kiosk is one of their most precious. Despite being only a kiosk, it has a huge variety of used books in many languages and topics, such as novels, plays, mathematics, economics, history, etc. Usually, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can ask Am-Tarek for it, and more often than not, he can find it elsewhere for you. Very affordable prices for books in great shape.

    Address: On the same sidewalk of Cinema Normandy, right after it, El-Montaza, Heliopolis, Cairo.

    “Wall” of Cairo University Book Market

    Another place that specialises in used books with as great of a variety as Al-Azbakiyya’s. This market focuses on providing a huge selection of fictional books and educational research papers that are great for demanding university students. The prices are low and affordable, making it a great place to get all the books you need. 

    Address: 1 Gamaa Street, Giza/Greater Cairo.

    “Wall” of Sayeda Zayneb Book Market

    A large market of used books belonging to English and Arabic literature, as well as countless old national newspapers. A wonderful place to go to discover books you’d never think you could find, for low prices too.

    Address: Al-Sayeda Zeyneb, right beside Al-Sayeda Zayneb metro station.