Most bookstores in North America and Europe have set business hours. They tend to open at 9 AM and go until 10 PM. Indie bookstores often have the standard 9-5 mentality and this sometimes prevent people who work late from buying books. A bookstore in Beijing China is bucking the standard operating hour trend and has just adopted a new 24 hour schedule.
Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Dongcheng District has pleased local citizens by keeping their store opened 24 hours a day. The bookstore first opened their doors in 1996 and currently displays 80,000 titles across 1,500 square meters, and is one of Beijing’s cultural landmarks.
According to the Peoples Daily Fan Xi’an, president of SJPC, borrowed the 24-hour concept from Taiwanese retail chain Eslite Bookstore. “I was thrilled by the large number of readers found at night in Eslite Bookstore when I visited Taiwan in 2010,” he said.
The bookstore had actually been planning a 24 hour schedule since 2011, but lack of funds scuttled the plans. However, the extra cost has now been covered by sponsorship from the central government and Beijing Municipality — part of authorities’ broader scheme to subsidize a total of 56 bookstores around China. “We no longer have to pay value-added tax, and the government has announced 90 million yuan (14.6 million U.S. dollars) to support 55 operations like us,” said Fan.
Expanded operating hours are serving a dual purpose. One allows people who work long business hours the oportonity to shop in a bookstore during the weekday. Secondly it gives youth something else to do other than bars and nightclubs. A neighboring cafe has signed on to allow books to be taken into the cafe and refreshments into the bookstore.