Used Book Shops in Amman

I just LOVE 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:

متاجر الكتب المستعملة في عمّان

• Mahall al-Maa محل الماء

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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!

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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.

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ELHARF Tour

I’ve guided the design and crafts tour during the 2nd edition of Amman Design Week, the title of the tour was named after my new established project: ElHARF, which will be the home of calligraphy and Arabic visual arts.

The tour started from Calligrapher Shehadeh Haroun’s shop, to meet him and learn from his experience in silkscreen printing, Haroun still using the old-school methods that he acquired from the sign painters of Damascus once he was there 50 years ago! I’ve collaborated with Haroun to produce the English lettering of Amman Design Week, and to demonstrate the essential skills and give some funny tips for the tour members.

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Shukran. Humanitarian Design Business

I had the honor to be a speaker in Dar Al Hekma University’s international design symposium: Reinventing the Vernacular, that was the outline of my talk:

Shukran. Humanitarian Design Business

Daily, we observe the need for good design, the design that extends to all industries and segments of society. There is one segment, however, that is left behind. This group may not realise, nor afford, the importance of design thinking. Underprivileged communities are overlooked by designers, in their quest to establish a career and profit. What designers forget is why they started their business at all; to create change, and impact society. And what better way to achieve this, than to look to those who deserve it most, and would benefit from the smallest design effort? A new logo, a revamped window, a carefully considered sign would not only introduce “good” design to a neighbourhood, it could solve problems, and positively affect the livelihood of a person.

The concept of “humanitarian design” evolved without any demand from this under-privileged community, a distinctive approach that is counter to the ordinary procedures of the design scene. A service that is provided gratuitously, free of charge. It was simply a matter of think, design, and apply, with the only profit being a simple “Shukran” (Thank You in Arabic)

This Shukran means the world. The concept goes beyond charity and awareness-raising; it has developed to encompass an effort to bring good design and solutions to society, working with business owners and immersing oneself in the culture and daily life of local communities. These efforts are not without reward, new horizons open up opportunities, encouraging diverse clients and interesting projects.

DESIGN WEEK

The 10 Commandments of Humanitarian Design

I’ve shared those commandments in my talk at Dar Al-Hekma University, in the Design Week 2015: REINVENTING THE VERNACULAR.

1. Know your skills playground!
And find who might need it so you can serve and use best of your skills.

2. Pause Doodling!
Go make serious stuff.

3. Knock their door!
Intervention is good. Don’t wait for their knock knock, they may be shy, or simply don’t know why you are needed!

4. Create trust!
Good intentions create trust, remember this with your clients.

5. Design for what a human need.. or might need!
You should know what are the needs, include them as a solutions in your offer.

6. Think, design, and apply!
After spending your time in thinking, researching and design. Show the idea when it’s completed, stay away of half-road trip. Make real projects!

7. Stop be perfectionist for sometime!
Perfecting every single damn detail before publishing your work is a very long and hectic process, train your self to take a break, and do quick stuff with 20% effort but that bring 80% of impact and benefits.

8. Don’t be shy!
Show your work confidently, and learn from your mistakes if happened. Other wise you remain in the shadow.

9. Make your clients famous!
Helping people to be recognised would make you very recognised as well. Carry their story with you.

10. Take the shorter route to happiness!
Work > money > happiness
Money makes you happy, so why don’t you make it a step shorter and reach happiness directly without the money headache?

By: Hussein Alazaat

Dar Al-Hekma University, Jeddah, March 5, 2015