Art And Culture

Barter Books in Tehran

Barter Books in Tehran Barter Books in Tehran

The Book Exchange Center in Tehran is the first of its kind that lets people with the opportunity to swap old books with others’ used books.

The center, situated in the biggest book market and publication center in the capital, offers over 100,000 used books, in an area of about 900 square meters, and caters to readers with varying tastes, IRNA reported.

Located on Enqelab Street, in the vicinity of Valiasr Crossroad in the city center, it was inaugurated in June. The books available cover a wide range of subjects including medicine, accounting, art, economy, foreign languages, human sciences, novel, academic, religious, history and more.

It is indeed a proper place for piles of books left unused at homes or kept storerooms and gathering dust due to lack of space. People can take their books to the center, hand them in and pick what they want among the thousands of titles all categorized and sorted out.  Some rare and out-of-print books can also be found if you have the time to sort out.

The center has been launched to promote the culture of book-reading among the public as unfortunately the time spent on reading books (not including textbooks, newspapers and magazines) is unbelievably low in Iran – an average of 10 minutes per person per day!

On establishing the center, its director Mohammad Bahranian said, “it was founded by a group of book enthusiasts and is run by trustees”.

In over six months since inception, there have been a total of about 40,000 book exchanges registered in the center. The figure shows an average of 200 exchanges per day, which is a significant number given the bitter truth in the society where books have almost no place in most household’s expenditure basket. It suggests the center has been successful in gradually building a culture of book-reading among the public and envisages a promising future.

Buying used books at a discount is also an option at the center. “We aim to provide an opportunity for more people to access books with the minimum cost because due to the high price of books, not all people can afford to buy them,” Bahranian noted.

“If there are people who would like to use the books we have but have no books of their own to offer, they can pay for their favorite titles and get a big discount.”