Dubai: US-based Borders Group, the $4 billion giant of the international book retail industry, will open a book store in Mall of Emirates, Dubai, at the end of the month.
The news follows a franchise deal between Borders Inc, a subsidiary of Borders Group, and Dubai-based retailer Al Maya Group, which runs Al Maya supermarkets and UAE outlets of the United Kingdom's retailer BHS, as reported in Gulf News earlier.
Borders Group, which sells books, music, films and stationery and operates 1,200 stores worldwide through its subsidiaries, says it is planning further GCC openings in cooperation with Al Maya Group.
The company would not reveal exact locations, but confirmed it will open in Muscat, Oman, next year.
"It is our mission to be the preferred place for knowledge and entertainment throughout the world," said Borders Group CEO George Jones.
The company's 16,000 square foot Mall of the Emirates store will open with an in-store signing by million copy-selling author Lord Jeffrey Archer, the former Britain's member of parliament who was imprisoned in 2001 for perjury and perverting the course of justice at an earlier trial.
Officials say the store will carry 65,000 book titles in English and Arabic in categories such as literary fiction, history, business, poetry, travel, cooking and children's.
The new book store will also stock magazines, newspapers and stationery items as well as featuring seating areas for reading and an outlet of Starbucks Coffee.
Unlike in its United States stores, Borders in Dubai will only stock audio book CDs rather than music CDs or DVDs. Al Maya officials say there is a strong need in Dubai for a specialist book store, saying the emirate and has "a big reading community".
"Dubai is a city full of people who enjoy being entertained and expanding their knowledge," said Al Maya group director Vivek Bahirwani.
"They will embrace a specialty store that allows customers to come in and select exactly what they are looking for," added Al Maya group director Bahirwani.
Borders' main competitor in Mall of Emirates will be Virgin Megastore. Other bookstores around the emirate include Magrudy's, which has several outlets in Dubai and the chain Books Plus.
Bahirwani denied Borders will force smaller outlets out of business.
"When more bookstores open up in an area, that means that there is a community of readers, which sounds like a wonderful community to me," Vivek Bahirwani said.
The Gulf News was unable to reach Magrudy's for comment.