Arab booksellers and bookshops in the age of printing, 1850-1914

Ami Ayalon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence of massive printing in the Arab Middle East in the nineteenth century entailed a multiple set of changes. As well as the production of written texts in unprecedented quantities and the rise of a big reading public, that historic shift also gave birth to a range of diffusion channels-from bookshops to public libraries and from newspaper agents to reading clubs-which carried the printed works to their audiences. This article examines a small section of this scene: the growth, spreading and changing characteristics of book dealerships and bookshops in the Arab Ottoman provinces during the formative half-century prior to World War I. Exploring this mechanism casts light on the nature and pace of printing assimilation in the region, projecting it as a rather dramatic makeover.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-93
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2010


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation473/05


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