Forget about scrambling for notebooks and photo albums in a tight corner around the cashier in Diwan. At Qirtassiya, there is a whole floor dedicated to stationery.
Cairo’s favorite bookstore has opened its own stationery division just two blocks down the road from Diwan’s first branch in Zamalek on 26 of July Street.
The name comes from the Arabic word qurtas, which is a cone shape in which ancient Egyptians coiled their papyrus before handing it out. In fact, stationeries around the Arab world are usually referred to as Qirtassiyas.
Unfortunately, the items on offer are limited, falling short of what you’d expect from a place like Diwan, which has made its mark as a pioneer in Cairo’s mainstream literary scene.
The long rows of shelves on the first floor are dedicated to notebooks and sketchbooks, with a small space allocated for photo albums. You can find Moleskines, authentic hand-made paperbacks and the classic wired notebooks.
Designed in Italy, Moleskines come in all the different sizes and colors, some with plain paper and others enclosing lined sheets. Abdelzaher is another collection in store, offering hand-made books and albums crafted from leather and natural paper.
Other than the myriad selection of books, the first floor displays funky laptop sleeves designed by Built and a variety of children’s posters.
For fancy gift wrapping, head upstairs. From patterned wrapping paper to patched gift bags, this is definitely an essential service that has been often overlooked by regular stationeries.
Qirtassiya’s prime location will surely attract stationery-junkies, who will hopefully soon find a wider selection of items. -Daily News Egypt