'Coming Soon' signs have been spotted on London's iconic Baker Street (home of literary legend Sherlock Holmes) announcing the arrival of Egypt's independent bookstore, Alef. The Cairo-based brand has been steadily rising since it opened its first store in Heliopolis in 2009, and is now spreading its wings after establishing over 20 branches in Egypt.

Alef Bookstore UK promises the best of Arabic literature in an area of London that's often frequented by tourists, Arab expats and students, alongside regular English-language works, stationery and accessories in the heart of the city. Though book sales have been on the decrease, and independent bookstores especially feeling the pinch, we hope this is the first of many Egyptian companies to go international, especially those spreading the richness of Arab arts and culture.