Book cafes a hit in China

Photo shows a book cafe in Paris. The China Youth Daily recently said that book cafes are becoming a new place for urban Chinese to enjoy reading. Picture: Agency

Sunday, October 3, 2010

WHERE do urban Chinese read? China Youth Daily recently launched a survey and found that book cafes were becoming a new place for urban Chinese to enjoy reading.

The survey, covering 2,160 people, showed when people were asked about their favorite places to read, 86 per cent of respondents selected the Internet; 61.3 per cent choose bookstores, 54.4 per cent choose libraries and 21.8 per cent choose book cafes.

In recent years, book cafes, with books, magazines, food and drinks, and usually Internet access, have started to open in China's major cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing.

On the question of "why you love to read in book cafes," 77.7 per cent of people said they "love its comfortable and cozy environment," 52.1 per cent said they "love to read together with some congenial people," 51.1 per cent gave the reason as "books are updated more regularly in book cafes."

On the question of "why book cafes have become popular in Chinese cities," 85.4 per cent of respondents said that book cafes provide a new option for urban Chinese during their leisure time; 59.5 per cent thought bookstores were not convenient for customers to read in; 49.8 per cent respondents thought public libraries could not fully satisfy the needs of the public.

A female respondent surnamed Wang who was working for a medicine company wished her living community could open a book cafe.

"It takes me 40 minutes to get to the nearest library. And I always feel uncomfortable if I only read but do not buy in a bookstore," said Wang. She also suggested more services, such as photocopying, to be offered in book cafes. "Book cafes are a good complement to libraries, but their prices should be more reasonable," she said.

Xinhua