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Bookish.ae is Dubai's book rental service that delivers adult and children's bestsellers to your door. We're the online library that delivers.
The underlying magic of Bookish.ae is the convenience of a unique book lover’s delivery experience. Everything can be done online and, in only a day or two, you can have a bestselling book in your hand.
Bookish.ae was founded by Eden June Michael and started operations in January 2016, just in time for the beginning of the UAE's Year of Reading.
* 5,000+ books in our catalog
* 100 books uploaded to our system every week
* We source our books from 5 different countries: the UAE, US, UK, India, and Jordan
* 1 physical office located in Jumeirah Lakes Towers
* AED 49 is our lowest priced plan
* 3 out of 4 of our members are women
We offer 4 monthly membership plans--Book Liker (AED 49), Book Lover (AED 99), Book Family (AED 129), and Little Book Lover (AED 49)--to encourage children, families, and book lovers to read in Dubai.
Bookish.ae members also get to attend our member programs. We design these programs to enhance the reading experience and support Dubai's community of Book Lovers. So far, we have launched the Very Ready Reading Program, a comprehensive early literacy program from the United States that offers story telling, dancing, singing, and developmental playing to children from birth to 3 years. Our youngest Very Ready Reader was just 5 months old!
We have also launched a free Sing-Along story time for children all over Dubai and Tiaras & Tea, a monthly princess themed story time and tea party. All of our events currently take place at the Bookish.ae office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
We are on a mission to offer our members the largest book catalog (all online of course), fastest delivery, and best customer service in Dubai. Ultimately, we want to be the literary and reading hub of the UAE.
Founding Story from Eden June Michael
The story of Bookish.ae actually started in 1983 when I was a 3-year-old living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA and started carrying a book everywhere. When my mother tells this story she mentions that my older brother asked me why I was carrying those books around because I couldn't even read. But, the books just felt natural. I loved looking at them and imagining what they said. By the time I was 4, I had just about taught myself how to read, so my mother decided to send me to school a year early.
As a person who loved books, I loved learning and school. I kept reading for leisure even though I studied in university to be a chemical engineer. Despite getting a graduate degree, becoming an environmental planner for an engineering firm, and moving to Dubai to be a teacher, reading remained my hobby and books were my companions on my adventures.
When it was time for me to have my own child in 2012, I wanted to keep my mind active so I was reading 8 to 12 books a month. My reading habit became pretty expensive because print books are at a premium in Dubai. I was also at home with my baby so I didn't have hours to shift through books in a bookstore. I started looking for a better way to get print books and stumbled onto the Netflix for books model.
The basic idea was "People rent movies, why not books?" You want to read the latest books but save time and money. You can rent them from the library, but they often do not have the latest books. Moreover, once you get there, your favorites are usually already checked out. Buying new books at bookstores in Dubai is expensive and, again, you don’t know if the book you want is there until you get there. You could go to a secondhand bookshop, but the latest used books are often the same price as they would be new. Besides, you can’t store all those books in your apartment after you read them and secondhand bookshops in Dubai rarely buy books back that were published more than 2 years ago. Adding the touch of personal delivery made it the perfect idea for book lovers in Dubai.
Of course, I hadn't developed my entrepreneurial boldness yet, so I sat on the idea for a couple of years until July 2015, when I started developing a Bookish.ae's mobile-friendly website to be a full online catalog for thousands of books. Not only did I want to make it easy and affordable for people to read books they'd love, I also wanted to apply my science background to running the book rental service. A traditional library chooses books and tells people these are the books you can read. Instead, we use data to tell us which books people want to read. On our site, we hypothesize what people want to read, experiment with a percentage of books, track the results using analytics, and draw conclusions based on those experiments. We hope that this scientific approach leads to a user curated catalog that is more enjoyable for our members.
While creating Bookish.ae, I also wanted to add free programs for members that mirrored the wonderful free library programs I attended when I was kid in the United States. We brought the Very Ready Reading program to Dubai and the response has been really positive because Dubai was missing a regular, free story time.
Bookish.ae officially started in January 2016.
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