World’s Largest Floating Bookstore

MV Doulos is the oldest active ocean-going passenger ship, but it is also the world’s largest floating bookstore.
The Doulos is owned and operated by the German charity organization Gute Bücher für Alle (Good Books for All). Its mission is to provide literature at affordable prices in port cities where books are not easily accessible. The ship’s crew also participates in different forms of humanitarian aid.

The floating bookstore offers 7,000 titles. About half of the books available are Christian literature, but secular selections range from literary classics to cookbooks to language reference books. There is also a large selection of children’s books.

Nearly all the stock is in English, except for a few French and Arabic titles.

When the Doulos visited Nigeria, 8,000 people visited the boat daily, most of them waiting in line for several hours to come on board.

“It was a comfort to me to see how people have this hunger for books, for literature,” says Daniel Yap of Singapore. “I’ve seen some people moved to tears when they finally found a book they wanted, they were so happy.”Doulos organizers point out that their follow-up studies often show a marked increase in book sales in the cities where the ship has visited. “People who never took reading seriously are now interested in reading,” says Simon Chen, a journalist from Malaysia.

Via Doulos

Over 20 million visitors have been welcomed on board for tours, programmes and visits to the floating book fair. With stops in over 500 ports of call, this unique ship has visited more than 100 countries in including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and many island nations.

The books have been carefully chosen to cater to interests of all ages, and keeping in mind the educational, social and moral needs of the local community. A large selection is devoted especially to children. Local language materials supplement the vast array of English books. The books are offered at a fraction of their retail value. In some ports significant quantities are also donated.

Via The Hindu

The book ship is today owned by a non-profit German charity called Good Books for All (Gute Bucher fur Alle). GBA seeks to promote good education and international understanding through its book fair and cultural exchange programmes: bringing knowledge, help and hope. There are several on board functions planned for children, school students, teenagers and women. The highlight of the ship’s visit is the International Night — an evening of music, cultural dance and song from some of the 40 nations represented.

Click on all of the above links to read more about this floating bookstore. The ship is currently in Taiwan. Click here to see its schedule.

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