Diwan has been an integral part of Cairo’s new (upscale) bookish landscape, along with the Sherouq stores and indies like Kotob Khan. So I took note when the chain said they’d re-launched their website.

The new site has the “look at and purchase books” features you might expect, but also some first attempts at online book community:

“· Discussion Forums – A space for registered users to interact with others who share common interests, hold online discussions and share thoughts and ideas.

“· Book Clubs – www.diwanegypt.com registered users can create and manage book clubs and invite other users to join the group. Through the book club groups, users can feature a specific book, personalize a calendar of events and contribute to the club’s wall posts.

“· More Than a Bookstore – A representation of Diwan Bookstore’s commitment to culture and creativity, through an archive and image gallery of authors and their events at Diwan Bookstore.”

I joined a “book club,” although there’s no activity in it as of yet. (Yes, I realize I could start some activity.) The “More than a Bookstore” area is still fairly thin; perhaps I’ll have to check back when this site has a few more balls rolling.