Depository owners in Egypt’s Suez Canal city of Alexandria have been forced to close as their business model is under threat.
The closure, which began Tuesday and will last through Wednesday, comes after Egypt closed bookstores in the capital, Cairo, and other major cities.
It comes after a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court last week that the closures are illegal.
According to a statement released by the authorities on Wednesday, “the Book Depository is in the process of closing the bookstores on Tuesday and Wednesday in Alexandria, Alexandria, Sabratha, Sharm el-Sheikh and Al-Jumhuriyet.”
The closures come after the court ruled in July that Egypt’s books must be destroyed, meaning that it will be harder for Egypt’s private bookstores to continue operating.
The Supreme Constitutional court said in its ruling that the closure was unlawful because it “is intended to deprive the private booksellers of their income by restricting their access to bookstores and other forms of commerce.”
It said that the shutdown “will lead to an increase in the number of private book dealers, whose services would be less lucrative and thus less able to be utilized by the private owners of book depots and bookshops.”
The bookstores have been in the hands of the bookseller association for the past several years, but it said that they were “no longer profitable.”
The association has been fighting to continue their operation, calling the closures “a threat to their livelihoods.”