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Beijing's first 24-hour bookstore opens

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After Beijing's bookstores close down one after another under the brunt of e-book services, Sanlian Taofen Bookstore is determined to light up the night for booklovers by opening its doors to customers 24/7 starting Apr. 18, 2014.

Beijing's first 24-hour bookstore and cultural landmark, the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore, launches its soft-opening on April 8, 2014. [Photo: Xinhua]

The 18-year-old bookstore, completely tucked into the eastern corner of the National Arts Museum of China, was named after the country's famous cultural figure Zou Taofen (1895-1944), founder of Sanlian Bookstore.

Fan Xi'an, the incumbent general manager of Sanlian Taofen Bookstore, assured readers that the bookstore can afford the 24-hour cost as it has received government funds totaling to more than 1 million yuan (US$160,700).

Right before its 24/7 operation kicked off, the bookstore organized a late night reading to encourage people to read books in the peace and quiet of night.

"We have researched, discussed and prepared this for a very long time. And we also reached an agreement with Sculpting in Time, a chain café on the second floor, to invite their book lovers to come here at night."

According to Fan, he was inspired by the Taiwanese counterpart -- Eslite Bookstore -- which is open to customers24 hours a day and in addition sells coffee and artistic designs.

Fan explained that although the bookstore will not be profit-driven, it needs diversified business models to break even.

"As a bookstore of nearly two decades, we have the accountability to provide a spiritual land for intellectuals," Fan said.

According to Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, reading rates declined by 5.5 percent from 1999 to 2012, as the average Chinese each read no more than five books in 2012.

Source: China.org.cn
Date: 2014-04-18