Reading in Egypt

I saw the movie. 🙂

Thats the typical reaction you get in Egypt if you ask anybody about any book that has ever been published (If there even is a movie) 😛

Why spend a few days reading the book if you can just watch a two hour movie & get out with the same outcome?

As a young book worm I often got these looks of sympathy from my friends at school when they’d hear that I read “A tale of Two Cities” or “Great Expectations”. I really enjoyed reading the books but to them it was painful homework all the better if avoidable.

Putting into consideration that all kids have the impression that books mean studying which translates to something really unfavorable in their minds as the only books they read is this year’s curriculum 🙂

Whereas at the time book stores in Egypt were really scarce.

My book problem in Egypt was that when I came here I didn’t speak Arabic only English so as a base I only read in English, the thing is I’d just come back from the states with the idea that libraries were everywhere they had libraries in cars which passed by in the neighborhoods, big libraries, smaller ones (i.e Borders, Barnes & Nobels) ..etc, you can walk in the library just sit down & read the book while drinking a cup of hot Coco. I’m quite a bookworm so when i came here it came as a shock that I couldn’t find a single library big_smile, instead I found the traditional replacement “Beta3 el Garayed” tongue aka the newspaper guy.

Who always had a yellow smile on his face while asking little me “Are you gonna buy that?”, If the honest answer was “No” the reply was then “Don’t touch it”.

The release date for any book was anywhere from 1 year to never, so thats when my cousin introduced me to “Ragol Al Mostaheel ” the Egyptian version of James Bond tongue, (which was in no way a compensation to the comics I used to read in the states “Batman, DareDevil ..etc but I have to admit it did help me learn Arabic”  &  it got me through my childhood, albeit I did make any body I know heading to the states come back with a big supply of comics & books to get me through the year big_smile.

But really I can’t blame them its a business “Supply & Demand” if books don’t sell they won’t open book stores & public libraries  are just building you’d rarely find anyone in there smile

With all the honesty in the world books are quite pricey since they are imported there’s shipping overhead plus the libraries profit, which made a single comic book priced @ 7 LE jump to the price of 25 LE in the span of 2 years :S.

Which makes reading a luxury not everybody can afford .

The people who can afford  it just aren’t accustomed to reading. They’d rather go out & party as most teens do.

Among the younger audiences PlayStation, Wii & laptops along with the internet & satellite dish have taken the place  of a conventional book.

So although we now have good book stores (i.e Diwan, Shorouk..etc) with branches all over the place releasing the latest books simultaneously with the US or if you want something specific you can just order it off Amazon :D.

Despite all these favorable circumstances I don’t think the reading base has changed much in Egypt. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Reading in Egypt

  1. how are you doing ya Yasser.. it’s me Haitham Khashaba, one of your class’ 97, remember me!!? anyways an amazing article.. reminds me so much of my cousin who experienced the same problem..

  2. Of course I remember you Haitham :), How’s life as a doctor ?

    I think most people who are into reading faced the problems I did 🙂
    I’m just the one who wrote them down 😉

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