Back to school: Get free books for any student at this Dubai book store

Each student can get up to four academic books from BookHero until September 4


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Tue 15 Aug 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 15 Aug 2023, 3:44 PM

A bookshop in Dubai is giving away hundreds of academic books for free to any student and the only requirement is that they should show proof of current academic enrolment.

BookHero has been doing this initiative for the past seven years – every August prior to the opening of classes. BookHero founder Montserrat Martin said this year they have around 5,000 academic books in grade school, high school or college – and each student can get up to four titles.

The initiative will run until September 4 at BookHero’s flagship branch inside Oasis Mall, located on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Another good news is that the free books are not only limited to residents or students in the UAE but also to any student abroad. “For example, an expat parent working in Dubai who has a kid studying in India, Kenya or the Philippines, can come to our store at Oasis Mall and get free four textbooks for their kids. The only requirement again is to show proof of enrolment,” Martin, who had a Filipina grandmother, explained.

Consistency and community involvement

Martin, a Spanish national who has been living in Dubai for 22 years, said giving free books is not a new concept. But why her initiative has become sustainable is because of consistency and community involvement.

“The business model of BookHero is book swapping and sometimes people come to us with four books and they swap them for only two books. We keep the extra two; and in a year, we accumulate thousands of books which we give away in August,” she told Khaleej Times.

“The initiative has become popular among the residents and that is why keep on giving free books every year to support our goal of making books accessible to all,” Martin underscored, adding: “We not only find support from the residents but also spread this initiative with other companies by inviting them to support small communities with free educational materials.”


Going to communities

In the time of digital age, providing physical books has its direct impact to underprivileged communities with little or no access to internet. BookHero has sent out on Monday 400 kilos of books to an orphanage in Kenya and a few months ago, 300 kilos of books were sent to a community in Andhra Pradesh, India.

With this altruistic mission in mind, the idea of BookHero – which Martin co-founded with Emirati entrepreneur Mohammed Al Qubaisi, who is an avid book lover himself – has expanded to tapping UAE residents and visitors who are willing to bring with them books for free distribution in their home countries.

Travelling Hero

“The concept is called Travelling Hero. So, anyone who is travelling for vacation or returning to their own country can come to us and ask for books which they can distribute to any association, orphanage or public library in their area,” Martin explained.

The books are free and the traveller can just add the books in his/ her check-in luggage. “Some residents have asked to carry 20 kilos of books and because giving is contagious they even pay the cost of extra baggage from their own pockets,” she added.

Martin believes her initiative will go a long way. She said: “BookHero is a business but what makes it special is that it keeps on giving. And seeing the expression on the face of someone who is a book lover receiving a book, that is a story that will always have a happy ending.”

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