Books.com.eg, a Cairo-based e-commerce site which was one of the first startups to benefit from the Silicon Valley accelerator, Plug and Play, has now made its products available worldwide and has launched its latest feature – Facebook integration.
The site, which started out as a local online Arabic book-seller has grown into a fully fledged worldwide operation, offering English and Arabic books, as well as a small selection of used and out-of-print books.
Co-founder, Mostafa Abou El Nasr, told Wamda that the site saw a huge boost in traffic and sales when it began to offer books about the Egyptian uprising. An entire section is dedicated to the Egyptian revolution, with memoirs, political analysis and photography books, as well as Tweets from Tahrir, a collection of tweets chronicling the first 18 days of the uprising as it was told on Twitter.
With an interface available both in English and in Arabic, Books.com.eg has become the ideal place for users to buy books in Arabic, no matter where they live in the world.
The latest feature, Facebook integration, brings a social aspect to the buying site. If you leave a comment on a book on the site, you can choose to have that comment appear on your Facebook profile. More importantly, you can now make your purchases directly from the social networking site without having to actually visit Books.com.eg.
Visiting Books.com.eg’s Facebook page, which has already racked up over 300,000 fans, you can search for titles, add them to your cart, and checkout all in one place.
The move by Books.com.eg to integrate so closely with Facebook is bound to pay off. Facebook is the social network of choice in the Middle East, and in Egypt alone has over 7 million users.
But the Egyptian e-commerce site is eyeing far more than a local market. While Amazon does pose some competition to the site, by offering over 12,000 titles in Arabic, the majority of the titles are in fact translations of English books into Arabic. Books.com.eg’s Arabic catalog is a modest one, just shy of 2,000 titles, but as it continues to grow, it has the potential to become the main source for original Arabic titles coming out of the Middle East, serving a worldwide audience.