Publishing & Bookselling

Publishing and bookselling are vocations that traditionally have overlapped greatly in Egypt. Given the absence of a solid book distribution network, publishers often house bookstores for selling the books they publish, thereby acting simultaneously as publisher, distributor, and bookseller. Over time, and particularly over the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st, many of these privately run house-bookstores have started carrying select books from other publishers, too. Meanwhile, since about 2002, independent bookstores unaffiliated with publishers and resembling western-style bookstore chains also began to appear and have taken off in Cairo and other cities in Egypt.

When searching for books in Cairo, be sure to pay attention to who the publisher is. Since that information is often a crucial part of locating the book and understanding why some books are harder to access than others, we have separated our listings in this section of the site into publishing houses and bookstores. Many of the publishing houses listed here also have bookstores (see the individual house’s page), while the bookstore entries are for stores that are exclusively booksellers and not publishers. We’ve also captured this information on our map: green flags indicate a publishing house that is also a bookstore; blue are exclusively bookstores; yellow mark publishing houses that do not have a bookselling operation on site; and red indicate government-run houses and stores. For more on locating particular books in Cairo, see here.

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