‘House of Prose’ More Than Just a Bargain for Book Lovers

DUBAI — Slightly bent at the edges, personal notes scribbled in the margins and bent pages make a secondhand book more than just a bargain for an avid book reader.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Fri 10 Apr 2009, 12:38 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:13 AM

A previously owned book becomes a cross- cultural connection between book lovers across continents.

Tucked away in the extreme end of the Andalusia court in Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai the secondhand bookstore ‘House of Prose’ is an easy place to miss. But once there, rest assured book lovers would come back as often as once a week to get themselves a newset of books.

The House of Prose is a second-hand bookshop, and not a library, which people often mistake it for because of the way it works. The books are sold at half the cost price, and all books bought from the store can be returned at any time for which the management will refund 50 per cent of the cost in cash.

The bookshop only deals in English paperback books and there is no trade in Educational or Technical books.

Yvonne Watson, the store manager of House of Prose in Ibn Battuta said, “If we need new stock, we often buy them from our customers for cash. The books can be returned to any of our shops in Dubai, Muscat or Abu Dhabi. Books are quite expensive in this part of the world, so the store is quite popular among the expatriate crowd here.”

Books, which are slightly tattered, are sold for a cheaper price of Dh10. One can buy books for as cheap as Dh3, which are in reasonably good shape.

House of Prose is the brainchild of Mike Mcginley who first opened the second hand bookshop in 1993 in Muscat. “The idea occurred to me when I was living in Spain. There was a bookstore that would give me money for the books I sell them to. So I boughtthe idea here”

Mcginely added, “The expatriates here in UAE are well educated. They read more than a normal individual does. And besides that, they travel extensively. So you have readers, who get books from all over the world, and drop it off in our shop”. He said that customers could return books, which they bought 16 years ago from Muscat, and return it in Dubai today.

Over 12,000 books are available in House of Prose, the titles ranging from fictional books, true crime, war stories, autobiographies, travel books, children reading stories, classics, self-help books, language books among many other titles. Most of the books are by popular authors like Stephen King, Jeremy Clarkson, Anthony Horowitz, and Robert Ludlum among many others.

Australian book lovers Sid and Tanya King who were browsing some popular titles in the store said, “the bookshop is warm and inviting, and most of them are really good in shape. The collection of fictional works is very good here,” said Sid.

Readers can spend hours in the store browsing through the books, with comfortable wooden stools and sofas, which give the store a cozy ambience. All books are alphabetically categorised which makes it convenient for thebuyer.


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