Could a Bookstore Run on the Honor System Work?

Will the honor system work for a bookstore?

While some would say that no one would steal a book, as we have seen with Little Free Libraries, that just isn’t true.

Love Dubai has the scoop on unstaffed book kiosks that now dot the city’s landscape. They’re called Book Hero, and you can find a lot of photos on them on Instagram:

It’s possible you’ve spotted these book stalls dotted around Dubai, so here’s the concept.

Book Hero runs entirely on public trust. No staff, no tills and it’s open 24 hours a day, every day.

See a book you like? Simply drop your cash in the ‘Trust Box’ to make your payment. Books will be marked with the price (usually between AED10 and AED 20).

The books are priced between $2 and $5 USD.

Montserrat Martin, the owner of Book Hero, partnered up with Emirati entrepreneur Mohammed Abdulla Alqubaisi to come up with the idea, believing in customer trust. “We don’t employ staff simply because we trust our customers. I visit the place once a day to replace stock and collect money,” Martin told Gulf News.  Martin added, “Nobody would steal a book and even if someone does it would cost me just 300 dirhams which is nothing compared to what I would spend on hiring staff and paying for overheads like visa and insurance.”

Do you think this is going to work?

ANI News

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Anon2 April, 2018

    Having worked in a bookstore in a major metropolitan area I can say definitively: Yes, people steal books, especially the Bible.

  2. Carmen Webster Buxton2 April, 2018

    The number of shopping carts I see abandoned on street corners says no, the honor system would not work.

  3. Robert Nagle3 April, 2018

    Funny, my library does that for its used book sale. They have an honor system about putting money in the locked box.


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