As Ipad, Kindle are gaining popularity, another wave of businesses are shutting down: Bookstores. As we saw in 2011, Borders is gone, Barnes & Nobles are going online mode, and I am having a hard time finding a bookstore to hang out in during weekends now.
That may be true here in the States, but not so in Taiwan
Not that technology has not invaded Taiwan yet, but rather, bookstores in Taiwan has evolved.
Eslite Bookstore/誠品 is the most successful, popular bookstore chain in Taiwan. Even today when technology threatens to replace the storefronts, Eslite Bookstores are still where students love to go in the late night, families to hang out on weekends, and friends to share their love for art and culture.
Began in 1989, the first letter of the name, 誠/Cheng, means sincere, and the second letter, 品/Pin, means quality. Creator of the bookstore, Mr. Wu, decided that he wants a bookstore full of culture, art, and creativity, while maintaining high quality of products and service as his way of showing sincerity to the customers. Mr. Wu kept his words, and revolutionized the business of bookstores in Taiwan. Within 10 years, not only his bookstore made the highest profit, Eslite’s Taipei store also became the first bookstore to be open 24hours (can you imagine going to a bookstore at 2am in the morning !!), along with cafe incorporated in the stores, and frequent lectures, art demonstrations, plus performances from speakers, artists, musicians.
For me, I love everything about the Eslite Bookstore in Taichung
Second, if you want bread, they have bread shop downstairs (B1) along with around 10 restaurants that serves food ranging from pasta, Thai food, to Chinese food. Every time I walk downstairs I could not resist the smell of freshly backed bread ~~
Third, Eslite Bookstore building also has a Taiwan Living Craft Center, where they hosts exhibition of crafts from local artists, craft classrooms, and weekend culture and art demonstration. The weekend I went they were having a demonstration of how to brew Chinese tea, I was lucky to be invited to sit at the table and drink the tea brewed by the teacher =D
Fourth, if you are bored, they have craft classes weekly. I went with several family friends. We learned how to decorate lacquerwares with gold dusts and egg shells. Often times they only charge material fee, which is awesome for students on a budget but want to make something for their loved ones ^^
Fifth, if you are worrying about what souvenirs to buy for your parents or coworkers, the craft center in the building (B2 level) also has a great selection of crafts for sell. The price may range from $5 USD all the way up to $300 USD dollars depending on the crafts. I bought this lacquered bamboo tea cup & saucer set here, and right now it fits the mood for Chinese new year =)
So next time when you travel to Taichung City in Central Taiwan, make sure you spare an afternoon at Eslite Bookstore! Don’t worry about language barrier ~ Eslite bookstore chain also has the largest collection of English magazines & books in Taiwan =)
Eslite Bookstore Taichung/ 台中誠品園道店 Address: 403台中市西區公益路68號 (Taichung City, West District, GongYi Road #68, Zip Code 403)
Eslite Bookstore Taichung Hours: 10am -12am (Sorry, only Eslite in Taipei/誠品敦南書店 is 24 hours open)