|Address:||19 Huda Shaarawi St., next to Middle East News Agency (map)|
|Website:||Facebook: مكتبة تنمية | Tanmia Bookstore|
|Bookstore Hours:||10:30am-11:30pm, daily|
Tanmia Bookstore is one of the newest additions to the cluster of bookstores in downtown Cairo, having first opened its doors in 2011. Khaled Lotfy, the bookstore’s owner and founder, got his start in the world of bookselling by working for about nine years for a large distribution company in Egypt. During his tenure in distribution, Lotfy developed a network of contacts outside of Egypt and slowly began to accumulate a large collection of literature and other books from around the Arab world. As his collection grew, and with the encouragement of several friends and colleagues who came to him for books they couldn’t find anywhere else in the souq, Lotfy began to lay plans for opening Tanmia, though he was originally delayed by the revolution.
While some may think there would be rivalry among the many bookstores and publishing houses in downtown, Lotfy waved away the question about potential competition, saying that it was, in fact, Omar Bookstore that helped him find and secure Tanmia’s storefront on Hoda Shaarawy St. Indeed, for the most part there exists a friendly camaraderie among the various bookstore owners and publishers, and, Lotfy added, everyone knows that downtown is the place to go for culture and books. Tanmia Bookstore is a family-run business, and Lotfy runs the store with the help of his brothers. They have plans to expand the store and add several new branches, but they’re waiting until they drum up enough business first.
What you’ll find here:
Because Tanmia got its start due to owner/founder Lotfy’s experience in distribution and his broad network of contacts with non-Egyptian publishing houses and agents, this is a good bookstore to go to for literature from outside of Egypt. Don’t let the small size of the bookstore fool you; Lotfy has a large, off-site warehouse where he keeps thousands of books. While the house doesn’t have just literature and in fact strives to provide books on an array of topics, ranging from school books to medieval texts, religious books, science, economics, and more, their selection of literature is quite good and takes up about a quarter of the small store.
At last visit in the spring of 2013, bestsellers, Booker short-list novels, well-known names like Mahfouz, Hakim, and Taher, as well as more popular literature (including in translation) were found on the more prominently displayed bookshelves that line the left-hand side of the store as you enter. Around the low bookshelf in the middle of the store you’ll find literature arranged by publisher, including a horde of Merit titles, though the books aren’t necessarily organized by name or title, so feel free to ask for help tracking something down. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask one of the employees for help and try asking for Khaled by name, as he’s the most knowledgeable source on what they have and where to get a specific title, whether from their warehouse or from another bookstore. While they don’t do many events at the moment, Lotfy is planning on expanding their operations once Tanmia acquires a storefront large enough to accommodate book release parties and the like.
Last updated: August 2014