As people go digital and bookstores lose their value in the international market, one bookstore in Taiwan stands out for being able to cater to consumers who remain interested in those dusty old books.
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The credit goes to a company called Eslite Bookstore, the largest English supplying retail bookstore in Taiwan. What started in 1989 as a small bookstore that wanted to focus on arts and humanities has expanded significantly over the years into a chain of flagship stores that now includes fashion and home styling, small cafes and restaurants.
It now houses over 40 branches, including Taiwan’s largest bookstore to date, a children's bookstore, and four music stores, along with plans to expand into China. However, the company faces its own challenges of censorship laws in the region.
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Timothy Wang, the company spokesman, told CNN: “It is our belief that the more digital the society (becomes), the more we treasure the warmth of the interconnection.”
They were the first to open a 24-hour bookstore, which has genuine appeal for the locals in Taiwan. The way it’s put together makes this possible. People visit the stores and are able to read while they enjoy a cup of coffee, or listen to music – sometimes they even visit these stores in groups withsocial gatherings that may last long into the night.
Perhaps Taiwan is but a few steps away from this:
In 2013, it was reported that 40 percent of Eslite’s sales were from books – a number that offers a ray of light for the industry that is perpetually challenged by the likes of Amazon.com and Kindles.