Books, Music & DVDs

You’ll find both international bookstores and good local stores in Dubai. All malls feature at least one bookstore, and if you cannot find a publication, the larger stores let you place an order or enquire whether it is available in another branch. Dubai’s transitory residents furnish the second-hand bookshops – you’ll find a wide range of books, particularly fiction, many of which have only been read once. There are regular charity book sales, the most notable being the ones organised by Medecins Sans Frontieres. They are held several times throughout the year, usually in the Dune Centre in Satwa. A small selection of books, DVDs and games sell in the supermarkets and hypermarkets.

Unless you have particularly obscure taste, you should find a satisfying collection of music in the city’s supermarkets and record stores. Music and DVDs are generally more expensive than they are in other countries, but the advantage of Dubai’s multicultural society is that you can open yourself up to new genres – Arabic dance music for example, is very popular. Everything has to go through the censor, so any music or DVDs deemed offensive will not be sold here, unless it can be edited to make it more acceptable. Retailers will order titles that are on the approved list for the UAE. Bollywood films are extremely popular and available in most shops.

Online shopping is an alternative if you can’t find an item and you’ll find more variety on sites like Amazon UK or US, which deliver to the UAE. Delivery rates are cheaper from the UK site than the US site. Your package may be inspected by UAE customs. The UAE iTunes store sells a limited selection of music, TV shows, movies and iBooks, but you can log in to the UK or US sites for the extensive library – you’ll need a UK or US registered credit card for these.

You can also buy guide books and photography books by Explorer in most of Dubai's bookstores listed below, or order online at the Explorer e-shop.

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