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If this doesn't convince you that the big-box chains have an international death-grip on ma and pa (i.e., independent) bookstores, nothing will...
Borders is opening a new store in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). A store is planned for Oman the following year. Wonder what books women will be able to purchase. Story from tradearabia.
If women can't buy the books then there are certainly no 'ma' in the ma and pa bookstores. And if pa is a big enough prick to keep ma out of the business then he deserves what he gets.
Do you get normal ma and pa bookstores in giant megamalls?
Fair comparison in small towns but not in this case surely?
The real crime is that more books are translated from foreign languages into Spanish each year, than have been translated from foreign languages into Arabic since the ninth century. A bookstore like this will mostly cater to foriegners and English-speaking Arabs in the emirates. This is a good thing.
The first tragedy with Arabic is that to learn a good skill, such as medicine or engineering, an Arab has to learn a foreign language such as Chinese, English, French, German or Russian. The best thing that could happen to the average Arab is to have more contemporary books and texts translated and available in the languages of Arabic, Pashtu, Urdu and Farsi. That would open up the world to the Middle East.
The second tragedy in the Arab world, is that there is little cross-pollination between countries of their native Arab literature. Most Arab states don't sell contemporary Arab writing if it is from another region or some other country. Lebannon and Egypt are exceptions, but in most Arab states, there is not a lot of exposure to contemporary Arab writings from other countries, so someone in Morocco won't easily know the writings of Arabs in Syria, Yemen or even Algeria.
At least the new bookstore can help with this tragedy by selling Arab works from all around the world in one store. That would help relieve the isolation somewhat among their Emirate customers.
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