First 24-hr Beijing bookstore opens


A man walks to the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing late on April 8, 2014. The Sanlian

Taofen Bookstore tried to open 24 hours a day on Tuesday. The trial operation will last for

10 days before the official business.   Photo by Wu Guocai


A man reads a book while sitting on the steps at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing

at wee hours of April 9, 2014.   Photo by Wang Jingsheng


People read books at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9, 2014.

Photo by Wang Jingsheng


A man reads a book the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing, capital of China, at wee

hours of April 9, 2014.   Photo by Wu Guocai


People read books the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9, 2014.

Photo by Wu Guocai


A cashier work at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9, 2014.

Photo by Wu Guocai

A reader pays for books at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9,

2014.   Photo by Wang Jingsheng





First 24-hr

Beijing bookstore opens



By Liang Saiyu and Yuan Suwen


The first 24-hour bookstore in Beijing opened but did not close its doors on Tuesday of April 8, to the applause of a bookish public.

The Sanlian Taofen Bookstore, owned by China Publishing Group Corp., announced on Tuesday that 10-day trial of the 24-hour bookstore from Tuesday until April 18, and if the trial goes smoothly the store may never close again.

Manager Zhang Zuozhen said 3 million yuan ( 480,000 U.S.dollars) has been invested in the operation. The news was met with a warm welcome from netizens. “Yi Ren DU” said “the bookstore has guts… in an era when people read less than four books a year.”

According to a survey by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication in 2013, Chinese people read 4.39 books per capita in the past year, a figure that trails far behind major developed countries. The reading rate has actually dropped from 60.4 percent in 2000 to 54.9 percent in 2012.

“The 24-hour bookstore has shed a slim of light on the nation’s pursuit of intellectual nourishment,” Netizen “RunEmma” said.

Established in 1996, the bookstore is in the Dongcheng District of downtown Beijing.





A reader chooses books at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9,

2014.   Photo by Wang Jingsheng


A woman walks the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9, 2014.  

Photo by Wang Jingsheng


A man reads a book at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9,

2014.   Photo by Wang Jingsheng


People read books at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9, 2014.

Photo by Wang Jingsheng


People choose books at the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9,

2014.   Photo by Wang Jingsheng


 A reader walks out the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Beijing at wee hours of April 9, 2014.

Photo by Wang Jingsheng






NEW POST   updated on April 9, 2014



Beijing’s first 24-hr

bookstore turns first page



By Liu Wei and Nick Yates



Beijing-based bookworms can now become night owls with the opening of the city’s first 24-hour book store.

Sanlian Taofen Bookstore (STB) in Dongcheng District on Tuesday of April 8 expanded its opening hours, to the joy of people like 31-year-old Li Ying.

Li spends most of her evenings and weekends engrossed in all kinds of page-turners on the high street, but is forever worried about closing time. “Every time I get kicked out, I feel frustrated,” she said. “Now, I finally have a place to read to my heart’s content.”

STB, opened by SDX Joint Publishing Company (SJPC) in 1996, displays 80,000 titles across 1,500 square meters, and is one of Beijing’s cultural landmarks.

Fan Xi’an, president of SJPC, borrowed the 24-hour concept from Taiwanese retail chain Eslite Bookstore. “I was thrilled by the large number of readers found at night in Eslite Bookstore when I visited Taiwan in 2010,” he said.

With Beijing recognized as China’s cultural center, it began to pain Fan that the city lacked somewhere readers could indulge their passion for the printed word around the clock.

He proposed 24-hour service to the SJPC board in 2011, but the plan was scuppered by a lack of funds at that time.

However, the extra cost has now been covered by sponsorship from the central government and Beijing Municipality — part of authorities’ broader scheme to subsidize a total of 56 bookstores around China.

“We no longer have to pay value-added tax, and the government has announced 90 million yuan (14.6 million U.S. dollars) to support 55 operations like us,” said Fan.

Alongside this government investment, innovative schemes like 24-hour opening may be needed if traditional bookstores are to survive.

Helped by rampant piracy, more and more Chinese are opting to shop online for books or read their novels as digital downloads. The number willing to go into a brick-and-mortar bookstore is on the decline.

There are still readers like Li Ying who come for the joy of reading and frequently make purchases, but “some just greedily photocopy the book and leave or simply find what they want in-store but buy it online instead,” sighed Fan.

According to China’s 10th national reading survey in 2012, Chinese aged between 18 and 70 years old read just 4.39 books on average per year, which equates to 15.38 minutes of reading per day.

“These numbers explain why ‘reading’ was mentioned in a government work report for the first time in 2014, and why we wanted to open a 24-hour bookstore,” Fan said.

Based on research, STB found that people looking for entertainment at night have little choice other than bars or nightclubs. SJPC therefore hopes that the stores’ night-time opening may prove popular.

One person who may find the extra hours useful is 26-year-old Wang Lu. “I come to a bookstore once every two months. My job takes up most of my time during the day, so I can’t spare any for reading.

“However, with this 24-hour bookstore, I may find some time for quiet reading after a hectic day.”

Arousing people’s interests in reading is more of a priority for STB than economic gains, insisted Fan.

Though inspired by Eslite Bookstore, STB will not follow in its footprints by becoming a complex of bookstores, galleries, flower shops, malls and restaurants, but will focus purely on “providing the best books for readers.”

It will, however, form a partnership with a neighboring cafe to allow books to be taken into the cafe and refreshments into the bookstore. “After all, laymen can never be professional,” said Wang Yu, STB sales manager.

“I guess my husband will be excited by this combination. We’ll invite friends to read at night together,” said Li Ying.








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