The New Q8Books Store

Post by Mark

q8books

Last year Q8Books moved from their Bayt Lothan location in Salmiya to DAI (Dar Al Athar Alislamiyah) since Bayt Lothan closed down. This weekend I finally got to pass by and check out their new space and there were some good stuff and bad stuff.

First the good stuff. Visually I like the new space, it looks better, its spaced out nicer and it feels larger. They have over 15,000 books spread out across three different rooms and they even have a kids room and a reading room. It feels like a cozy high school library.

But there were a few things I didn’t like. The location, Yarmouk where DAI is located is just not as accessible as Salmiya is. It’s not near anything and it’s out of everyones way. DAI is also not a very inviting space, it doesn’t feel or look as casual as Bayt Lothan and you won’t find teens hanging around playing music, skateboarding or anything of the sort at DAI. There were also no Q8Books signs, not outside and not inside. I had to call Fajer who owns the place to ask her where the bookshop was since there was nobody at DAI to ask and no signs pointing towards the shop. Turns out I had to walk to the back of the building and then take the stairs one floor up.

If you’re looking to buy, donate or read books then you should pass by and check the place out. They’re open daily from 5PM to 9PM except on Saturdays when they open from 11AM to 9PM. Once you walk into DAI, walk to the back where there is a seating area and then take the stairs up and you’ll find Q8Books there at the end of the corridor on your left. Here is their location on [Google Maps] and they’re on instagram @q8bookstore


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40 comments, add your own...


  1. Yazi says:

    I was planning on donating some books but it seems both the location in Yarmouk and inside the building aren’t welcomimg.

  2. libu varughese says:

    Is it a library or a bookstore ?

    Best regards

    Libu

  3. T-rex says:

    its sad only fiction, I looked for science books, business books, just fiction and stories.

  4. Mo says:

    Can we just go there and read

  5. beach says:

    do they buy used books ?

  6. WakeUpPeople says:

    Cool! I’m sure they’ll they have books from Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris there!

  7. Ipsom says:

    In fact I think location wise it could be more accessible than salmiya… No horrible traffic and long searches for a decent parking spot

    But yea it sure feels desolate compared to its old place

  8. towtowannhilation says:

    the best kuwait books was always its first version – in Kuwait city where everyone was welcome. When it moved, although it wasn’t intentional, it became very unwelcoming to its majority expat clientele just because of how cliquey it became with the kuwaitis there… no fault of their own… the culture is just such that we don’t know how to relate to one another yet and expats are no less cliquey.

    But Kuwait city was always accessible and since its a predominantly expat part of the city, we were always happy to have Kuwaitis come into those areas because it was a safe place to mix. Bayth Lothan was less safe, more hoity toity, and this? Forget about it

    • Yazi says:

      You raise some good points. And yes, I’d wager the Yarmouk location will be predominately Kuwaiti which might make others shy of attending.

    • Fajer Ahmed says:

      Thank you kindly for your feedback.

      We have 11 team members, 8 of which are expats. We have an Indian, a Jordanian, Egyptians and Lebanese citizens on our team. We don’t and we never will differentiate between different nationalities, sexualities, cultures, genders. Yarmouk cultural center has a diverse team as well, Indians, Somalians, Americans and Philippinos are just a few of the people that I have come across.

      It’s a shame you feel that way even when you haven’t visited. We would like to invite you over, please do come in and see for yourself. More than 50% of our readers aren’t Kuwaiti and they are happily mixing together.

      We look forward to meeting you :)

      • Imran says:

        Fajer, I second that. As someone who is visiting regularly since the last one year, initially at Bayt Lothan and now Yarmouk, there are diverse people coming here. In our book club, lots of Indians, but including Lebanese, Tunisian, Kuwaitis, and we had people from Azerbaijan and Mexico also coming occasionally. The location is out of the way, but if you are a book lover then the location does not matter.

  9. NourK says:

    Nice! best of luck

  10. Appa says:

    I was led to believe that the bookstore was initially opened for the less privileged to go to and be able to purchase second hand books for a more reasonable price. I guess it won’t be the case anymore as one would need a car to the new location, making it more difficult for the needy to go. This bookstore is now for the new class book worms who can afford a new book. The idea for the community who would need such a book store is lost somehow. Lovely idea though.

    • djelibabs says:

      It’s a bit like cultural appropriation – something every dominant culture is good at – the west and now Kuwait. Taking something that was meant for other people, removing it of its soul and purpose, and making it instagram worthy. The west does it all the time – hip-hop, ethnic foods… you name it. Nothing is accepted till it is white or in this case, kuwaiti. Yoga is the big one – in Kuwait, people think they’re yogis and practice yoga… it’s a load of horseshit… they’re basically stripping yoga of all its essence which is a RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL practice. You can’t do it while Kuwait still undermines Indian culture and expats locally. They can call it what they want to but its not yoga… it’s just their latest soulless past time. Dno’t worry, we’ve lost nothing and they’ve gained nothing.

      • Mark says:

        Yoga isn’t just a religious or spiritual practice. It’s evolved beyond that, not everyone who does yoga wants to be a yogi. I do yoga because of the stretching involved, some people do yoga because of the social aspect others because its their only source of exercise. This doesn’t apply to just Kuwait, it’s a world wide thing.

      • @djelibabs is making some very valid points. Cultural appropriation and gentrification are never spoken about in Kuwait and they should be.

        But @djelibabs I personally think Yoga and all the Western practices and customs we have adopted is a result of Colonialist Mentality, which Arabs call “The White Foreigners’ Complex” – “عقدة الخواجة”. Look them up if you don’t know what they are. It has decimated widely into our public lives and causes Identity Crisis. So many Kuwaitis and Arabs I know are suffering from an Identity Crisis because of our lack of contributions to the world as compared to other people we meet from other parts of the world.

        Mark, this is what @djelibabs is talking about I think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXejDhRGOuI

        • Mark says:

          Say whaaat? I think you’re seriously overthinking and over analyzing the situation.

          People in Kuwait or any other place are doing yoga because it’s become a worldwide trend just like crossfit and shake shack for example. That’s all, has nothing to do with a colonialist mentality or “the white foreigners complex”. Because every gamer in kuwait wants to play no mans sky does that mean they’re suffering from the white foreigners complex? Or does it just mean it’s a new game that came out and it’s supposed to be good? The answer is obvious.

          Arabs and Kuwaitis choosing to do yoga or listen to “western” music aren’t doing so because they’re suffering from an identity crisis…

          • Yes, Yoga has been a worldwide thing since probably the sixties or seventies but its worldwide decimation has stripped it of its historical and spiritual context which dates back to thousands and thousands of years B.C.

            All people are asking is to be mindful that it is a Hindu practice and that it originally belongs to India and Nepal (the birthplace of Buddha).

            In Kuwait for example, its really weird to see privileged Arabs and Westerners charging a lot of money to teach yoga, a Hindu practice, to those who are also privileged and have money when Hindus themselves in Kuwait do not have mandirs (Hindu temples) and cannot perform their own rituals here in public or else face deportation or prosecution. Even public Diwali (Deepawali) fireworks were banned in Kuwait a couple of years not because of safety reasons but because they’re Hindu.

            And yes, Colonialist Mentality exists. There is White Privilege in the Arab World. We all know that. White people, on average, get paid much more than non-White people with the same experience performing the same job. White people are treated better on every level, socially, economically, this causes minorities to form an inferiority complex when living in a racially hierarchichal society.

            I don’t know why I wrote that second paragraph, we all know it exists.

            • Mark says:

              It’s not weird to see people charging a lot of money because we don’t live in a communist society. In Kuwait everyone is free to offer the services they please at a price point they see fit. So you have places that are expensive, and you have places that are affordable, that’s how life works. It has nothing to do with white foreigners complex or Colonialist Mentality which you stated in your previous message as the reason behind Yoga being popular in Kuwait.

              And now you want to talk about white privilege? You’re just firing arrows in every direction trying to hit something. Lets finish discussing your original comment first which was:

              “I personally think Yoga and all the Western practices and customs we have adopted is a result of Colonialist Mentality, which Arabs call “The White Foreigners’ Complex”

              How is people wanting to do yoga or eat at shake shack or do crossfit or play Doom on the PS4 a result of the white foreigners complex?

              • I’ve spoken too much. It definitely seems like we’re at odds with one another, which is totally cool.

                But listen if I continue talking on here:
                a) I’d feel guilty the whole day for intruding on your time.
                b) I should get back to work haha.

                We can talk more about this whenever.

                • Mark says:

                  Whenever you’re ready to stop avoiding and instead discuss your comment:

                  “I personally think Yoga and all the Western practices and customs we have adopted is a result of Colonialist Mentality, which Arabs call “The White Foreigners’ Complex”

                  Let me know because I’m curious to how people wanting to do yoga or eat at shake shack or do crossfit or play Doom on the PS4 is a result of the white foreigners complex…

                • Sorry about that.

                  Ok, about my statement.

                  It’s not just those specific things – Shake Shack, Crossfit – it’s our whole lives. Everything we use on a daily basis is created, manufactured made abroad. Not here. Our daily clothes, our toothpaste, razors, ummm pencils, erasers, we don’t create anything. We don’t even create trends.

                  Yoga too, funnily enough, even though it’s Indian, was only made popular by the Flower Power movement of the Sixties pioneered by….White people.

                • Mark says:

                  Again what does that have to do with colonialist mentality and “The White Foreigners’ Complex”?

                  If I’m using a toothbrush thats made in China or a wallet thats made in Italy or eating a burger from an American chain, how does that mean I have a white foreigners complex? What are you talking about?

                • We don’t manufacture or create anything ourselves as a society because we rely too much on the West for everything.

                  We have admit defeat and surrendered everything to them.

          • You brought up a great example.

            Gaming.

            Now, would Arabs feel more inclined to purchase a video game created by Americans or Japanese or one that is created by Arabs?…..

            Your answer will be well, Arabs are not known to create good video games so someone will feel more inclined to purchase a Japanese or American game. But what exactly DO we excel in? Making falafels and Turkish coffee?

            We don’t excel in anything. Our contributions to the world are hugely disproportionate to our population. Only two Arabs for example have ever won a Nobel Prize in science or literature. Arabs suffer from an inferiority complex because of this.

            • Mark says:

              I want to ask you a question, do you think majority of people know if a game originated in japan, spain, usa or saudi? do you think majority of the people know if a game had an arab developer on board or a chinese one or a american one? do you think people care? if anything, arabs would be more inclined to purchase an arab game as a sign of support but in 99.9999999% of the cases, people buy games because they’re good or of interest to them and not because the game was made in america or made in japan.

              • They definitely do. If that weren’t the case, white people wouldn’t be paid three or four times as much as an Asian.

                You tell someone this phone or chair or whatever was made in Paris and they will be more inclined to buy it than say if it were made in Gujarat, India.

                Colonialist Mentality exists, if you personally don’t buy into it, that’s totally your choice.

                Serious question though, since when did Arabs support each other? On paper, they do, in practice though?

                • Mark says:

                  yeah go ahead, avoid the discussion

                • I’m sensing you’re getting angry….which wasn’t really my intention like at all.

                  Yes, the majority of gamers or casual games do know where games come from. Heck, I remember when we were kids when we went to Rihab and saw “Bio Hazard” we immediately knew it was the Japanese edition of “Resident Evil”.

                  And I was eight and not a serious gamer.

  11. A/R says:

    Couldn’t be happier to see such a great project come back to life, the team behind it are all welcoming and helpful (their team consists of Kuwaitis and expats contributing to society, for those who keep complaining about everything).

    Keep up the good work :)

  12. Mark says:

    Bollywood Over Hollywood: No I’m not angry but its frustrating trying to have any kind of discussion with you because instead of participating in a single discussion on a single subject, you’re instead avoiding the topic and opening another discussion on a different subject.

  13. Amr Hosny says:

    Dears, I have a huge collection of books that I have collected over the past 20 years. Now I am moving back to the Netherlands on Sunday and unfortunately I can’t take them with me. It’s a rare collection of books of all sorts (business / fiction / non fiction / science / art / history – you name it). I hate to see them go but c’est la vie. Please urgently contact me @ 66999239.


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