One of my favourite places in all of Taipei is the Eslite book store on Dunhua South Road.
Beneath the unassuming exterior of the building lies a book-lover’s paradise. Shelves and shelves of books and magazines in both Chinese and English. Several floors of it. Most of the books are unwrapped and available for reading.
And the best part – it’s there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You may wonder what the heck a 24-hour book store is for – it’s not like people read at 3:47am in the morning, do they? Well, they do.
(Read on about the 24-hour book store by clicking on ‘More…’)
Taiwanese people love the nightlife, and they love to read. There are also a lot of people working jobs with odd hours, people with insomnia, and people who love a book so much (and are so cheap) that they want to sit there all night to finish it off. Oh, and there’s also the foreigners who are having trouble adjusting to the time difference. From what I hear, it’s not unusual for there to be a lot of people hanging around way after midnight. Here’s proof. I have no idea why anyone would post this on YouTube.
Due to time constraints, I wasn’t there all day, though I wish I could have experienced it. Not necessarily try to finish a single book or anything, but just to look around and sample one book after another, soak it all in, and if I like a particular book enough, purchase it before I go.
There is a very wide selection of English books there, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, there are staff or computers which can help. And if you really want a book they don’t have, you can always get them to order it in.
The prices are generally very reasonable – and are much cheaper compared to the book prices in Australia. There are quite a few ‘specials’ going on as well, with popular books often given a 21% discount, and if you buy 3 such books, a 25% discount. When I was there there was also a promotion where if you spend TWD 1000, you get a TWD 100 voucher to use for next time (at any Eslite store).
I would recommend any book lover to go for a visit. Just being around many books inspires you to write!
How to get there
The exact address is: No. 245, Section 1, Dunhua South Road, Taipei.
Easiest way is of course the MRT. Take the blue line to the Zhongxiao Dunhua station. Take either exit 5 or 6, and head south along Dunhua South Road towards the big roundabout.