Book cafes: The new place for reading in China

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 05:20 hrs

Beijing, Sep 23 (IANS) More and more people in urban China, with a lack of proper places to read, are now turning to book cafes to enjoy a bit of solitary time.

The China Youth Daily recently conducted a survey with 2,160 people and found out that when people were asked about their favourite places to read, 86 percent selected the internet, 61 percent chose bookstores, while 54 percent chose libraries and 21 percent chose book cafes.

In recent years, book cafes offering books, magazines, food and drinks and internet have started opening in major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing.

On being asked 'why you love to read in book cafes', 77 percent of people said they 'love its comfortable and cosy environment', 52 percent said they 'love to read together with some congenial people', while 51 percent gave the reason as 'books are updated more regularly in book cafes'.

On a question 'why book cafes have become popular in Chinese cities', 85 percent of respondents said book cafes provide a new option for urban Chinese during their leisure time, while 49 percent said public libraries could not fully satisfy the needs of the public.

A female respondent named Wang, working for a medicine company, wished her 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,' Wang was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

She also suggested more services, such as photocopying, to be offered in book cafes.

'Book cafes are a good complement to libraries,' she said.