Over the past few months, parents and children have had to adjust to working and learning remotely. As the summer school break approaches, students will no doubt welcome the spare time to spend time doing things they enjoy just for the fun of it. With certain restrictions still in place across Qatar to contain the spread of COVID-19, leisurely activities remain limited; however, the extra time indoors affords an opportunity to engage in other enriching hobbies
Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press), in its ongoing mission to instill a love of reading among the community, is collaborating with Rafeeq and Snoonu on-demand courier service to deliver books to homes across Doha.
Members of the community can purchase books securely through the Rafeeq and Snoonu mobile applications, which boast hundreds of titles for the whole family. These include academic books, non-fiction and fiction for children and adults across various genres, in both English and Arabic.
“Children’s books are our bestsellers at the moment. We believe that with schools providing classes remotely and the majority of people working from home, parents are looking at ways to complement their children’s e-learning with books. Reading is a great leisurely activity that also provides children with a break from screen time,” says Mounir Slim, Head of Publishing Services, HBKU Press.
Through its partnership with Rafeeq and Snoonu, HBKU Press is able to meet a consumer need and adapt its services to changing times as it continues to promote literacy in Qatar.
“Even when things return to ‘normal’ there will still be a market for consumers using delivery applications because of the sheer convenience alone. Our partnership with Rafeeq and Snoonu serves to complement our retail activities. We have many great books and we want to ensure they are available to readers to purchase through multiple avenues.
“COVID-19 has thrown the world a curveball and Qatar has set a precedent around the world with how well it has adapted to the global upset. In all aspects of the public sphere, Qatar has adopted digital technologies to ensure business continuity,” added Mounir Slim.
Members of the community can download the Rafeeq and Snoonu mobile applications on iOS or Android to browse and purchase a complete list of HBKU Press titles. Orders are delivered within 60 to 90 minutes maximum. Rafeeq and Snoonu ensures orders are delivered safely in line with the necessary COVID-19 precautionary measures.
In addition to Rafeeq and Snoonu, HBKU Press also has a healthy presence on other applications and platforms. These include Kindle, which hosts 125 HBKU Press titles, as well as Overdrive, Abjad (for Arabic titles only), Lusail and Streetlib. In the case of the latter, Streetlib offers 40+ partners through which HBKU Press can highlight its publications to readers young and old.
Even before lockdown, online and in-store sales highlighted the popularity of HBKU Press’ offerings for 7 to 12 year olds. Bestsellers include Monsters are Afraid of Mama, the story of a ‘supermom’ with a gift for explaining away common childhood fears. Other noteworthy titles include We Are All Wonders and Candy the Meanest Camel in Town, Johanna Handley’s tale of a camel that’s rude to her classmates and her teacher.
“Whether it’s inspiration for a new hobby, an edge of your seats thriller - or anything in between - reading has been the only source of comfort and relaxation for many people in lockdown,” added Mounir Slim. “Books have also become essential features of parents’ strategies to their children occupied and engaged in learning activities. It’s been an honor to provide this service during these difficult times.”