Many physical bookstores are under the impact of the advancement of Internet shopping today. However, facing the quandary, some bookstores still hold their position firmly in the market competitions. The secret to success is that the shop owners not only run their business in unique styles but also pass on some perspectives and values to readers.
“VVG Something”, an independent bookstore with creativity and nostalgic style, is elected as one of the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world by Flavor wire in the United States. The books, ornaments and designs are imported by Li-chin Wang（汪麗琴）, a.k.a Grace Wang, the C.E.O of VVG business. “Grace thinks that the only way to clear our minds and to put us together is through reading with peaceful and focused heart. Surprisingly, many supporters were attracted by her idea which was beyond expectation.” Said Wen-chin Wang（王玟晴）, the Public Relation manager of VVG business.
“I just want to provide backpackers a place to search for information, to look for a fellow traveler and to share experiences” said optimistically Katie Wang, the owner of Travel-ing, said,“Travel books contain more information than the travel articles on Internet in the era of digital age.” Wang added, “So far, the challenge I have faced since I started my own business two years ago is that the store is not yet popular enough with backpackers who wish to find travel companions. Eventually, I decide to keep going on account of wonderful fruition until now. Moreover, I will try to run travel planning service in the future.”
Have you ever heard of a magazine library? There are more than three thousands of foreign magazines in Boven Magazine Library, the first magazine library in Taiwan. Most people think the value of magazines is less than books because the contents of magazines are mostly news articles or some pieces of information. Nevertheless, Yen-chuan Chou（周筵川), the main founder of Boven, thinks otherwise. He considers many foreign magazines better in quality and richer in depth than books. He said, “Boven was established on January in 2015 after five years of preparation. The reason why I had this idea is because I found that a lot of people need to read magazines to know the latest trend of their professions when I worked in bookstores and music stores in the past.
Chou thinks that reading is very relaxing and can help us organize thoughts in the fast-paced life. He also thinks “renting instead of selling” is a kind of “Knowledge-sharing economy.”
Although the business is still on promotional period, three owners of Boven plan to set a limit of 20 customer reservations per day in the future to ensure the reading quality. Moreover, they also intend to supply magazines for customers in coffee shops and galleries in order to expand knowledge sharing. Nowadays, introspections on e-books and online reading are being reconsidered, people begin to reacquire the warmth of knowledge from printed books. Furthermore, most people begin to go LOHAS. It is no doubt that independent bookstores still have their supporters.
Traditional Bookstores under Digital Competition
In a fast-paced city such as Taipei, tradition bookstores（傳統書店） bring out the most special side of the city. Aside from the sense nostalgia, such bookstore owners share similar principles and particular insists on their store management. The Internet marketing nowadays has significantly given impact towards the development and existence of traditional bookstores, remapping the industry. That’s why, store owners come up with different methods and ways one after another to help regain customers’ interest. Te-sheng Wu（吳德勝）, the owner of Gongguan Used Bookstore（公館舊書城）, recalled “ It’s been 40 years since the grand opening of our store. I have been in charge here for almost 30 years now. Thanks to the initiation of the Taipei Metro System, the crowds and potential customers have sure grew, which has been a great aid for us.” As for Jui Xiang Ju（舊香居）and Shui Zhun（水準書店）bookstores located in Shida market, both stores have experienced several relocations since 1972. Jui Xiang Ju is passed on to its current successors Ya-Hui Wu（吳雅慧）and Zi-Jie Wu（吳梓傑）,while Shui Zhun’s owner, Ta-fu Tseng（曾大福）has been taking care of his business for 42 years.
“Honest and trustworthy” Is the best policy and serve as the motto of Gongguan Used Bookstore. The store is abundant with all types of second handed books. “There are without doubt, different kinds of people who have all types of needs in the society. It is my decision to run the store, and I am glad to take all responsibilities and face all kinds of possibilities in the future, for better or worse.” Te-sheng Wu explained.
Shui Zhun bookstore claims itself as “The bookstore with best price in Taiwan”, with most items sold 40% off original price. “Reading a good piece of material is just like marrying a good wife, the same goes vice versa.” Ta-fu Tseng shared. He also believes that selling books is the most mutual-beneficial job ever to ask for. “It is all about the inner happiness you receive when books are being sold, truly beyond sales numbers.” The books collected in Jui Xiang Ju are mostly under the classification of History, Philosophy and Art, with a number of antiques in decoration to build up an atmosphere of serenity. “We are always looking for the right book, and a book also awaits its destined owner to bring it home.” said Ya-hui Wu. In Jui Xiang Ju, it is easy to find collectors in search for the most ideal piece. Through the sharing of ideas between customers and owner, new possibilities are expected in the future.
On the future of printed books, Ya-hui Wu believes there is still an open space of creativity in the usage of paper types, combining with Aesthetics, visual and sensual designing.
Wordwave Festival: Reading Out Loud
Word Wave Festival（華文朗讀節）, aimed for introducing readers a new concept of reading in Taiwan, considers reading a personal experience. However, once you read it out loud, it can be infectious and becomes a channel between author and the audience, making reading shareable.
Word Wave Festival features a number of activities. The organizer, Taiwan Cultural & Creativity Development Foundation（財團法人台灣文創發展基金會）, invited many notable faces to read out their pieces. From pop singers to famous writers, poets and musicians, it is a brand new experience to the audience.
Pei-jan Wang（王沛然）, the director of Taiwan Cultural & Creativity Development Foundation, said “Reading books aloud is like watching a show that anyone who does it would fully immerse himself into the plot of the story.” She also said that by inviting guests from different walks of life, she hopes that more and more people can develop deeper interests towards reading.
Hu, a staff of Naughty Education Festival, stated that their ideal is realized through the Word Wave Festival and many books were sold out in at this event. A total of 63 publishers participated in this Festival this year. People were encouraged to purchase books right on the spot.