I’m addicted to the used books!
Nothing’s more magical to own a book after someone have read it, dog-eared some pages, and lift some doodles and notes here and there! Sometimes I find a book signed by its author, with few little words to another special person to her/him.. that is super incredible! Or a book that was exchanged between friends, family members and so on.. All of these details make the world of used books the right place for me.
Amman, as all other cities in the world have its own shops that sell second-hand books, hereunder my list for the best ones:
• Mahall al-Maa محل الماء
Small shop located in Quraish street behind the Amman’s nymphaeum, owned by Hamzeh, a wonderful person, and a true booklover, Hamzeh has a massive collection of books, mostly rare ones! I spend hours and sometimes days overwhelmed his gems! Previously, Hamzeh inherited his late father’s bookshop under the name of Khazanet Aljahith, until 2017, he decided to launch his own new venture with a new brand name, and that was: Mahall al-Maa, which translate into English as: The Shop of Water, the concept behind that name came from the fact: water is essential for every life form, and so the books! Hamzeh believes in this value, therefore he launched a new initiative of its kind, he called it:”Take a book and pay as you wish!” Just to support the reading culture!
Despite the difficult economic situation of the country and this business, in particular, Hamzeh’s keeps his promise and encourage
his ‘Guests’ to maintain the reading habit, and he open a 24/7, even if that costs him a lot. A Nobel man! Please visit his facebook page from here.
• El-Muhtaseb Bookshop مكتبة المحتسب
You may not find a lot of used books here, but at Abu Mohammad’s paradise, you’ll sink under many piles of really old books from the 50’s and maybe older! I was a customer for that treasure since I was little kid! And a few years ago, I’ve redesigned El-Muhtaseb shopfront with a branding facelift under my design initiative Wajha, check the project from here.
• Abu Diaa Al Sawafiry أبو ضياء السوافيري
A Hidden shop in Sqf el-Sail, very close to the Italian Hospital, Abu Diaa is a sweet guy, he has organized shelves for every different topic, must visit!
• Khazanet Aljahith خزانة الجاحظ
It’s the famous small kiosk next to Hashem’s restaurant, owned by Hamzeh’s brothers and nephews, the elder brother, Hesham, has passed away recently, very sad! They have a lot of new books, but you still could dig for many good used and old ones.
• Samour’s Kiosk كشك سمور
After you pass the eastern entrance of the old vegetable market, you’ll face a small kiosk that sells nice used books, the owner name is Hamzeh, and he’s quite gentle and welcoming guy.
• Abu A’laa أبو علاء
Abu A’laa, or Tameem, has a small shop hidden at Basman street, you have to find the Basman roastery first, then Abu A’laa will be on the opposite side directly!
• Friends Bookshop مكتبة الأصدقاء
You need to have an adventures spirit at first to visit the Mahatta Station for buses and white cabs! I’m sorry to say that! But this is the truth, an important and vital place but with too many problems! Anyway, inside this station you’ll find the Friends Bookstore, they have plenty of many good old books.
• Mohammad’s Shop مكتبة محمد
On the long steps that connects King Talal street with Shabsogh street, there is a small bookshop inside Al-Kurdi building, Mohammad has really some great old books, you have to visit him frequently because he’s always bringing new (old) piles to his little shop!
• Azbakayet Amman أزبكية عمّان
Named after the famous used books market in Cairo, Hussein Yassin is running this bookshop successfully in the last few years, and I have to say he’s changed the scene positively, you can visit his shop in Wadi Saqra area. Although the majority of his books are new, you still could find some great used ones every time!
• Abu Bilal كشك أبو بلال
Located besides the old National Library building in Al-Hashemi street, Abu Bilal is quite cool guy and he immediately welcomes you with a warm cup of tea at his super-tiny kiosk!
Photo credits: Hussein Alazaat
- The post will be updated soon with locations, and Arabic version, meanwhile you can contact me for any info or just walk to these nice shop!