Sunday, September 06, 2009

City of Books

Look at the photo on the right. Can you guess where that is? It looks like a shopping mall but it is actually a 5-level bookshop in Shanghai. Can you think of a place of bookshop to match this in terms of scale and crowd?

There are indeed more “shoppers” at this bookshop than at shopping malls in Shanghai that I have been before. Amazing. A lot of people came to read rather to buy books. Therefore, you see a lot of readers littered at all available places in the bookshop that they can find—sitting right in front of the bookcase; sitting on the low wall by the escalator; even at a corner of the wall behind a potted plant. I have never encountered such crowdedness in Shanghai before (apart from the main underground interchange stations).

(This scene looks more like an underground station during peak hours.)

This is Fuzhou Road of Shanghai where it used to be lined with bookshops of all kinds and sizes from the start to the end of the road. But I am disappointed by the diminishing number of bookstores. Now, cafes and restaurants are competing fiercely with the bookstores for space and survival.

(Despite the passage of time, I am really glad that this bookshop is still standing here today.)