Page One, the Singapore-based bookstore chain, is set to open a large flagship store at the Harbour City mall in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district, with the facility to include some food outlets as well.
The new two-story bookstore, which will covers a total area of more than 30,000 square feet, will have a restaurant and a bakery besides selling books, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
The idea is to prompt young people to put aside their electronic gadgets and have a good time by browsing through books and having food at the same time.
Mark Tan, founder and chief executive of Page One, was quoted as saying that the store has been mapped out by fashion designer Toby Yang, who has sought to create stimulating space for book fans to help them get a fresh experience.
A proprietary restaurant and French bakery will be in the store, he said, adding that aroma oil and furniture will also be on offer along with books.
Lovers of cook books will have the chance to take cooking lessons in the store from well-known figures, Chan said.
Asked if it is a big challenge to run a large bookstore in a city like Hong Kong where people are generally seen as not reading much, and where rents are extremely high, Chan said he is confident that reading books will never go out of fashion.
Paper books will not be defeated by electronic books, he said, adding that people from all ages are his potential customers.
With the move to combine books with food, Page One will step up competition with Taiwan-based Eslite Bookstore in concept retailing.
Jimmy Pang Chi-ming, president of publishing house Sub-Culture, said concept bookstores that sell coffee and handicrafts are common in the West, and that Eslite Bookstore is also run under this model. He expects Page One to become strong competition for Eslite in Hong Kong, although both are at different locations and have different customer groups.
But no matter how fancy a store is, it won’t go far if doesn’t have good books, he said. The decline of local literature is not due to bookstores, but due to lack of writers, Pang added.
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