Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Review of Bookshops in Amman

I reckon that guides or reviews are swayed by the biases and preferences of those who write them, and this one is no exception. However, you have my word that I tried the best I could to keep the subjectivity to a minimum.

The review will be exclusive to the bookshops I frequent the most (once every 2 or 3 weeks), which means that my assessment is based on first hand experience, and nothing that I heard of or a friend told me.

The scale of assessment will be relative; that is the order is descending from the one that measures the highest (leftmost) in any given category. Inside brackets, the quality is comparable regardless of the order. If I drop the name of a bookshop in a certain comparison category, then simply it means I don't have adequate experience to judge it in that regard. So here goes nothing:

Topics [Diversity]: (Virgin Megastore, Readers), (Books@cafe, Prime), The Good Bookshop, Titles
Topics [Classics]: Virgin, (Readers, Prime), Books@cafe, The Good Bookshop, Titles
Topics [Controversiality]: Virgin, (Books@cafe, Prime), Readers, (The Good Bookshop, Titles)

Staff [Amicability]: Titles, Virgin, (Books@cafe, The Good Bookshop, Prime), Readers

Staff [Helpfulness]: Titles, Virgin, (Prime, Books@cafe, The Good Bookshop, Readers)
Search-ability: Books@cafe* (Readers, Prime, Virgin), Titles, The Good Bookshop
Shelves Renewal Rate: Virgin,... (Readers, Prime), (The Good Bookshop, Titles)

*Using their online catalogue, on the premise that it is always up-to-date, a thing I can't tell for granted.

[Update: in case you were wondering about the contact details of any of these bookshops see this link]
[Update 2: Prime is defunct]
[Update 3: Virgin Megastore sells French books, albeit in scant quantities]