I’ve never been much of a late night barhopping kind of guy; give me a nice book any day of the week—even weekends. And in Taipei, Taiwan, that is exactly how many people feel as well.
The Eslite Xinyi Store, a 24-hour five-story bookstore, is a haven for bookworms and night owls. People of all demographics are welcomed to sit around reading tables and simply enjoy their books in peace. No loud conversations, no heavy bass “unch-unch-unch” music, just the tranquil ambient sound of turning pages and soft classical background music.
In North America, books retailers such as Indigo and Barnes & Noble are still limping as they struggle to find relevancy in brick and mortar establishments. Starbucks, home décor, and other fashionable and eccentric items can now be found in bookstores as a means to sustain themselves financially.
But perhaps North American retailers can learn a lesson from their Asian counterparts. Eslite has turned their store into more than just a place for business; like a café, it’s a stylish place to hang out and chill. The all-day bookstore reported an approximate $425 million revenue in 2013, with 40% coming from book sales. In 2014, revenue is projected to increase by an estimated 8%.
Eslite has created a community where cool and intellectual people can gather, read, share ideas, and even flirt. Those in Taipei proudly compared the bookstore to New York’s SoHo.
While critics say that Eslite is in fact harming the publication industry by allowing hundreds of hours of free readings, a spokesperson for the store, Timothy Wang, claims it is the hospitable attitude of the company that enables success.
So what do you think? Would you like a bookstore open 24-hours around your neighbourhood? Will you be there at 3 a.m. reading the latest issue of Ricepaper Magazine?