Article by XIANEASE
It’s often been said that bookstores around the world are struggling. With the rise of the internet, and the subsequent easy access to information, as well as digital publishing, it would seem that this rumor would be true. In China, however, bookstore can still do quite well, as paper books still have a certain clout amongst readers, both for children and adults. These bookstore have moved beyond the basic model of simply providing books and have ventured into the territory of becoming entertainment centers all on their own. As such, they have often become sprawling mini-metropolises containing a plethora of options for both material objects and experiences.
Such is the case with Fangsuo Bookstore, recently opened in the popular shopping center, G-Park. Fangsuo is a chain originally founded in Taiwan that has four locations in mainland China, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Xi’an. It is a sprawling location, two floors of books in a beautifully designed setting, with sweeping staircases and arching ceilings. Most of the books are in Chinese (naturally) but there is a selection of books in English as well. Books are divided by category, as you would expect, and the tags are in both English and Chinese. From history to hobbies, you can find what you’re looking for. If you read Chinese They also have a large selection of magazines and large format art books to browse through as well. At the rear is a children’s book section stocked full of a large number of local and imported titles for children with walls decorated with special murals. This section also includes a play area full of toys for children to enjoy themselves in.
However, Fangsuo offers more than just books. Located off to the left of the main entrance is a shop were you can buy specialized items, such as notebooks, pens, and art supplies, all from well known brands. There are also other items, such as tea pots and cups, toys, and other items of interest. Currently, there is also an interactive display available sponsored by the colored pencil and art-supply manufacturer Faber-Castell. On the opposing side, there is a showroom for jewelry, calligraphy, and other cultural items that are on sale. At the rear of the store, there are more shops selling a variety of items, from jewelry and hair supplies to specialty kitchen appliances. There is even a men’s barbershop in the back that sells leather goods, memorabilia, and serves whiskey for their clientele.
The bookstore also boast a café that serves up coffee, tea, snacks, and a variety of specialty drinks. The coffee is quite good and they also serve a special type of Americano that replaces the water typically found in an Americano with suanmeitang, resulting in an intense sour and sweet experience that finishes very refreshingly on the tongue. It is an intense experience, but an interesting one for someone who thinks that they have tried everything. This little café area is perfect for sitting and browsing through your purchases, or simply stopping for a rest after browsing the shelves. Next to this is another area that serves juice drinks and alcohol, so no matter your preference or the time of day, you can get what you want.
Fangsuo is also looking to offer up more than just things to buy. They regularly host programs and lectures by famous authors and other experts that come and give talks about their books or talk more generally about the topics that they specialize in. They get experts from many different fields, including having a calligraphy expert from Xi’an’s own Beilin Museum come to give instructional lessons. Soon they will also open up a small art gallery in which they will display local art and have local artist come to give talks.
There is so much to experience at Fangsuo bookstore that it is best if you just go and experience it for yourself. There is something for everyone, so this is a great place to bring your family or friends and spend a leisurely afternoon.
If you get a chance to check this out, tell us about your experience by messaging us through our official WeChat account, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!