New arabic bookshop in Kristianstad
Opening a bookshop as a commercial and cultural project is difficult. And it is even more difficult to do so in a language that is not the language of the majority. Diala is trying to make a success of just such a project, selling traditional objects and books in Arabic in Kristianstad.
More people are interested in reading in Arabic than you might imagine. This is unusual. But it may be because people want to retain their native language and pass it on to their children, or else they want to be able to access information more easily. Diala and her husband intended to open a bookshop when they first came to Sweden, but the idea did not materialise until they came to Kristianstaqd from Ludvika in Dalarna.
_ We have experience in the branch. My father-in-law has an old, well-known publishing firm in Damascus. When we came here we wanted to open a bookshop or a branch of the firm in Damascus, but life here wasn’t easy. We started thinking seriously about opening a bookshop this year by learning everything we can about starting a business of our own, says Diala.
The official opening of the bookshop was on 1st May 2019, with a website and a Facebook group. They keep the books in their home, as they have no storage facilities. Their initial capital was small, but they sell what they have in stock and then import more books.
_ In just one month we’ve had almost 125 orders. That’s not bad at at all, and it encourages us to develope our project, says Diala.
A lot of the orders are for children’s books, especially ones about learning the language through games. There are also novels, books on politics and other subjects. Recently they have put out a few novels on the web, but they do not sell e-books.
Who decides which books to import?
_ In principle we do that ourselves, based on what we think will be in demand. But we take orders for books from our customers, of course, and soon we’ll be able to send books to them.
Are there only books in Arabic in the bookshop?
_ No, there are books in English as well. And there are advertisements in Swedish too. Our main target group, particularly as far as books are concerned, is Arabic speakers. But a lot of Swedes are interested in antique oriental objects.
What is your dream?
_ My dream is to open a proper bookshop and develope our project. I’d like it to be a centre where Swedes can get to know more about Arab culture. Many Swedes are interested in everything oriental and in the historical legacy from the Arab world, especially from Syria, says Diala.
Diala Alnwailati Amasri
Came to Sweden 3 years ago
Lives in Näsby
Has completed Svenska 1 at Komvux
Has a law degree from the University of Damascus
She is married to Alla Eddin Tanbakji, and they have two children.
Tenbakji Bookshop is the new name for the Syrian publishing house Damascus Publishers, which started in 1954