Inside Better Books in Salmiya
Inside Better Books in Salmiya

It was one of those afternoons where I was simply sitting down and relaxing in a donut shop with coffee in hand. Being new in Kuwait, walking has been my way to familiarize with the city. Afternoons are much pleasant and bearable even with the summer heat. I was browsing through my google maps checking what’s interesting near my area then I came across Better Books. As I haven’t seen a lot of good bookstores yet in Kuwait, I thought it would be interesting to check it out being near to where I am in Amman street.

The stairway leading to the bookstore
The stairway leading to the bookstore

A Hidden Surprise

Having spent almost a month already in the Salmiya, I am quite familiar with the grid layout of the city. The addresses is still something I have to decipher. I still have to get used to as some establishments with Arabic signs. Worse,  some doesn’t even have signboards. Better Books can be easy to miss even with the location pinned on Google Maps. Since I had an experience of joining a yoga class where the studio is located in a building basement, I thought the bookstore was also located in the same area. When I saw an opening leading to a bright stairway, my guess was right. I saw scribbles of quotes about books and reading at the walls of the stairway leading to a room. I went in and found a room full of books.

Upon entering the bookstore
Upon entering the bookstore

Better Books Bookstore

For book lovers like me, it felt like I stumbled on a treasure trove. Unlike the local book sale stores in the Philippines where the books are just stacked or shelved un-orderly, Better Books is well organized and neatly presented. Books are categorized properly and the titles are quite good too. I see familiar authors like Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, Nick Hornby and even a local Philippine author Miguel Syjuco. Aside from second-hand books, new books are also in stock.

The place is quite cozy with warm lighting, ample space, chairs for reading in the area, quiet nooks and even the resident cat, Frosty to entertain customers in the store. Occasionally, coffee or tea can be served for returning customers if available.

Reading nooks
Reading nooks

What makes Better Books different from a typical second hand bookstore is it’s also has a community. Customers can return the books they bought and are given 50% store credit from the amount of book returned. The credits can be used for purchase on their next book. It’s quite an interesting concept to enable the book to circulate and get good discount for the regular customers. People may also bring books they want to give away and earn store credits. The book though has to be assessed for value.

Better Books has been around for six years already. It continues to be a hidden gem of a place for book lovers in Salmiya. If you love books and reading, better head over there.

Frosty, the resident cat with the book I bought
Frosty, the resident cat with the book I bought

Better Books
Block 10, Salmiya, Hawalli Governorate, Kuwait
Opening Hours is from 10:30am to 9:00pm everyday
Contact 25642743
Visit website at betterbookskuwait.blogspot.com

Cozy chairs around the store
Cozy chairs around the store
They even got a Filipino author in their selection
They even got a Filipino author in their selection
Read a portion of the book before buying
Read a bit before buying
Another reading nook
Another reading nook

 

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Ferdz
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

3 Responses to “Salmiya | Better Books Kuwait: More than a Second Hand Bookstore”

  1. JovialWanderer.com (@JovialWanderer)

    Ilustrado! Curious ako kung pano sinulat yan. The story seems complicated. 🙂 May nakita ko review dito http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/books/review/Bonner-t.html?_r=0

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