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Chinese bookstores rank among ‘world’s coolest’

Three Greater Chinese bookstores have been ranked amongst ‘the world’s coolest’ by US-based global news organisation CNN.

In a newly-released selection posted online CNN observes that old or new, all of the stores round the world its editors selected for the “World’s Coolest” list have fascinating stories, serving as “historic sites, sanctuaries, salons of culture and must-visit entries in any travel itinerary”.

Librairie bookstore

The three Asian stores making the list are Eslite Bookstore in Taipei, Librairie Avant-Garde in Nanjing, China and 1200 Bookshop in Guangzhou, China.

The 17,000 sqm Eslite store, which opened in 1999, trades 24-seven and stocks books and magazines in a multitude of languages. Its success has been followed with more stores in Taipei and another in Hong Kong’s Hysan Place.

The Librairie Avant-Garde is described by CNN as “China’s most beautiful bookstore”, located in a massive underground parking lot once used as a bomb shelter.

“The 4000 sqm store’s unusual features include large crosses, a copy of Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ and a checkout counter built out of thousands of old books,” writes CNN.

“A good bookshop should provide space, vision and nurture the city with its humanitarian spirit,” owner Qian Xiaohua told CNN. “It’s a place for people to have dreams in the city.”

Librairie bookstore1


And the 1200 Bookshop, which also trades around the clock, has earned a reputation for great books and coffee as well as a haven for travellers, with backpackers invited to stay in a private room in-store.

“We are doing business at the store during daytime but making friends at night,” says founder Liu Erxi.

Read CNN’s review of the other stores on the list and be inspired by the photogallery on CNN’s website.

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