Bookstores urged to rethink strategies

Updated 10 October 2014
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Bookstores urged to rethink strategies

There used to be quite a number of bookstores selling secondhand books in the Saudi capital, but the number has decreased over the years, according to a literature professor who used to teach at King Saud University (KSU).
“There are only a few bookstores remaining in the Saudi capital and they will also close down if the owners don’t make the right moves competition-wise to stay in business,” he said.
In order to attract customers, he said, they must display good books on their shelves.
“They should ask walk-in customers what kind of books they need and like to read and buy these for the local readers,” he said.
A survey of bookstores for secondhand books showed that there are at least three to four stores along King Abdullah Road. Most of them sell books in Arabic, but also have good old books in English.
These include a biography of Time Magazine founder Henry R. Luce, "Good Times, Bad Times" by Harold Evans detailing his fight as Sunday Times editor against Rupert Murdoch, William Manchester’s "American Ceasar" (biography of Gen. Douglas MacArthur) and the autobiography of former US President William J. Clinton. They also have classics in the English literature.
However, bookstores for secondhand books along Makkah Road are gone. These stores used to be a hang-out for a number of Saudi journalists working for a local Arabic daily.
The former professor added that while it’s true that many prefer to surf the Internet or use their smart devices to read their favorite books, there are readers who still collect books.
“One reason for this is the fact that they take books with them wherever they go and read whenever they have the time,” he said. Among them, he added, are teachers, students, artists and art patrons, among others.
To some, particularly teachers, college instructors and professors, writers or journalists, these are books they use in their work.
He added that travelers to other countries make it a point to visit bookstores, either for new or second-hand books as well.
“Go to Dubai, for example, and you find good books at the Dubai Mall that you can’t find in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
The supervisor at the English section of a bookstore chain in the Saudi capital said that “we have buyers who select books to order abroad.”
“We also have representatives who visit book fairs outside the Kingdom and order what they think would sell in the local market,” he said.


FaceOf: Abdullah bin Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, Saudi ambassador to Bahrain

Updated 18 September 2018
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FaceOf: Abdullah bin Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, Saudi ambassador to Bahrain

  • Al-Sheikh holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Evansville in Indiana, US
  • Al-Sheikh was also director of the department of field medicine in the General Administration of Medical Services

Abdullah bin Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh has been Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Bahrain since 2013.

A new Saudi-Bahrain bridge is underway to link the two nations with two railways, the first for passenger trains and the other for cargo.

Al-Sheikh said the tender for implementation of the King Hamad bin Issa Bridge will be submitted in six months, with implementation expected by mid-2021, and it will take about three years to be completed.

“The bridge project will cost between $3 billion and $4 billion. It will serve as a new link between the two countries and contribute to the development of trade in all fields, extending its influence to strengthen the economies of the Gulf countries,” he was quoted as saying by Al-Arabiya.

Al-Sheikh holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Evansville in Indiana, US. He received a master’s degree in engineering and construction from Fort Leonard Wood, a US Army installation in Missouri. He also holds a Ph.D. in human resource management from the University of Nottingham in the UK.

He occupied several engineering positions, including the management of engineering divisions and projects in the General Directorate of Military Works. He also managed technical planning and development at the Armed Forces Hospital in Riyadh.

Al-Sheikh was also director of the department of field medicine in the General Administration of Medical Services and his duties included field supervision of medical campaigns and relief inside and outside the Kingdom, in areas such as Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey under the umbrella of the Saudi Red Crescent.