London: Al Saqi Books decides to close doors after 44 years

Closing-down sale is scheduled to be held before December 31, 2022

Hyderabad: Al Saqi Books, a popular bookseller in London, decided to put an end to its 44 years of journey. It decided to shut down the bookshop due to economic circumstances.

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A closing-down sale is scheduled to be held before December 31, 2022.

According to the bookshop owner and director of the bookshop Salwa Gaspard, lockdowns and supply chain breakdown are the reasons behind the decision to shut down.

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Cost of books increases

Apart from the economic conditions in the UK, the cost of books from Arab countries is also the reason behind the decision.

Announcing the decision, the bookshop tweeted, “Bidding farewell to an iconic London bookshop: Al Saqi Books stood for freedom of thought and expression, cultural diversity and empathy with all peoples.

Saqi books continues on, with the bookshop always in our hearts”.

Al Saqi Books was started in 1978

In 1978, Al Saqi Books was started by André and Salwa Gaspard along with their companion late Mai Ghoussoub.

After moving to the United Kingdom from war-torn Beirut, they started the bookshop in Bayswater, London.

Soon it became popular among Arab expats in the UK and other European countries. It was also popular among Arab visitors.

The bookshop has also faced many difficulties. Some of them are censorship crackdowns, attacks during the second Gulf War, and after the publication of Salman Rushdie’s controversial The Satanic Verses, inventory depletion during the Lebanon war in 2016. 

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