published: 2017-04-27 14:55:47
(18 Apr 2017) LEADIN
A Baghdad man has turned his passion for books into a source of income by creating a mobile book shop.
Ali al-Moussawi has built a glass display on the back of his van to show off his books as he changes location.
As he waits for the book shop to open a man is able to check out the publications on offer, neatly organised behind sheets of glass.
This converted van is the brain child of Ali al-Moussawi.
He began by organising book clubs, contests, signings and writing seminars held at cultural centres and cafes.
Then the avid reader decided to build a mobile book shop to turn his love of books into a job.
“It took me nine months to achieve this new idea,” he explains.
“I hope it will bring more attention to the importance of reading. When a young man like me converts his car into a mobile library this deed will draw attention to and promote reading.”
Al-Moussawi has found plenty of customers. He says his business brings in a monthly income of up to 4,000 US dollars, and that he has hired four paid workers.
But he must swap out his offerings depending on where he goes in the city, which is still deeply divided by the sectarian violence that erupted after the 2003 US-led invasion.
Sunnis and Shiites gravitate toward their own religious texts, and in Sunni areas biographies of Saddam Hussein remain popular.
In fact, location is key when it comes to parking the van.
“The fact that it is located near the university will help students to save time when they need to buy books and that is very important”, says Baghdad University student Salma Abdul Kareem.
But when he’s on the move life isn’t always quite so straight forward. Al-Moussawi regularly finds himself battling through Baghdad traffic jams and enduring harassment from security forces.
But to follow his passion, earn a living and help educate others, it would appear a small price to pay.
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