Bookshops have become new gathering spots for certain groups of young people in Beijing. A few bookshops have become must-sees for book lovers and even popular “sightseeing” places for tourists. I visited a few of them in February 2016 just before Chinese New Year.
Zhongxin Bookshop (China Citic Books) was the first one I came across during my holiday in Beijing. I wasn’t prepared to see such a stylish bookshop and I certainly didn’t expect to see more of them, so I forgot to take photos! So now I’m back in the UK, despite hours’ effort online, I couldn’t find a photo of the brand new bookshop that I visited with any search engine, Chinese or English. But I liked it very much and I have to tell you about it.
I’ve never been to a Zhongxin Bookshop and I didn’t notice books and magazines published by China Citic Press before. But a few interesting books and magazines I picked up were all by China Citic Press during this trip. I had a quick search and found that Zhongxin bookshops started and continues to grow since about 2010. It’s really a new force for reading in China, focusing much of its attention on airports and shopping malls.
Among all the bookshops I visited, the stuff on shelves in Zhongxin Bookshop is definitely my cup of tea. I’m not sure if everyone has the same feeling as me, when the shop is right, I find multiple items that I’d like to buy and end up with the happy dilemma of “which one shall I buy”. On the other hand, a bookshop I went to later on during my trip was better looking and more famous, and I expected to find some interesting books there but couldn’t find any at all. I left with a “what a shame” feeling, but a happy purse.
However for this one, as soon as I entered the door, I was glued to the bookcase dedicated to magazines alone. Talking about magazines, a post dedicated to Chinese magazines is to come!
There were a few big surfaces in the centre of the spacious room with books of many subjects, lying face up – which was the way I prefer. It also had a coffee shop attached, which felt like a default for new bookshops in Beijing now.
How to get there:
There are many Zhongxin bookshops in Beijing. The one I visited is east of Forbidden City between Second Ring Road and Third Ring Road. You can see on the map, it’s within walking distance of Temple of the Sun (which was nothing special itself). Dongdaqiao subway station on Line 6 is probably the closest. The bookshop is in Beijing Parkview Green, which is a brand new shopping centre with interesting modern art and architectural design.
The photo above is not of the bookshop I visited in Beijing Parkview Green. I took it from China Citic Press website.