回到閱讀的根本!| Get back to basics and read!

Dedicated to reviving Taiwan’s reading culture, one of EP-BOOKS founder’s main missions while traveling around the world is to scout for new books. (Courtesy of EP-BOOKS) | 戴勝益致力於復興臺灣閱讀文化,每逢到國外旅遊時,也會給自己一個任務為書屋蒐羅新書。

TAIPEI (The China Post) – Reading on electronic devices may be convenient, but nothing can replicate the feeling of curling up with a book. To bring back the delight of reading books, EP-BOOKS revolutionized the concept of traditional bookstores, opening doors in July 2016. The China Post had the pleasure of visiting the bookstore and chatting with chairman Steve Day. Here is an edited version of the conversation:

如今,在手機平板上閱讀普遍且便利,但那依舊不同於好好靜下心讀一本書的感受。2016 年7月開幕的益品書屋,成立的目的便是為了讓人找回閱讀的美好,並顛覆傳統的書店形式。英文中國郵報十分有幸能訪談書屋的發起人,戴勝益先生。以下為部分訪談內容。

With a background managing restaurant chains, how did you make the change from leading the Wowprime Group to opening a bookstore? | 您管理餐廳連鎖店的經歷非常豐富,請問您是如何轉換跑道而創辦書屋?

The motivation behind this bookstore was to bring back the simple pleasure of reading and to create a stress-free reading environment. It was also the chance for me to do something with what I love the most. I was always a bookworm and I majored in Chinese Literature at university. Opening a bookstore where everyone could enjoy reading has been my dream since then. Even when I was working at Wowprime, I did not forget that this was what I wanted to do ultimately in life.

這是我一直以來想做的事,即使在王品工作時,我也從未忘記這個夢想。我熱愛閱讀,大學讀中文系,那時的我,便夢想有一天可以開一間人人都能享受閱讀樂趣的書店,創造一個舒適、無壓力的閱讀空間,喚回閱讀簡單的滿足感。

EP-BOOKS is unlike any other bookstore in Taiwan. Can you share with us where the idea for it came from? | 益品書屋跟臺灣的其他書店不一樣,請問您是從哪得到這樣的點子?

During my days with Wowprime, I went trekking at Mount Everest Base Camp two times on staff trips. On those two occasions, it was interesting to see the differences between Asians, who were usually chatting in groups during break time, and Westerners, who often enjoyed the mountain view with a book in hand. This reminded me how crucial reading is for self-nourishment and to become a person of culture.

我曾在王品員工旅遊時造訪聖母峰基地營兩次,發現十分有趣的現象──亞洲人大多會聚在一塊聊天,而西方人則大多在享受美景的同時,手裡捧著一本書閱讀。這讓我意識到:閱讀對於自我提升來說,是多麼重要,它能增進個人修養,也讓我們成為有內涵的人。

I want to provide a place for people to relax and read. Bookstores and libraries in Taiwan tend to make people feel stiff and self-conscious. It is awkward to read at bookstores. When you read there for three to four hours a day, there is that thought of store clerks looming in the background and staring you down for not buying anything.

所以,我想打造一個舒適且讓人能夠放鬆閱讀的地方。臺灣的書店及圖書館大多讓人感到過度拘謹,讀者可能無法以輕鬆的狀態享受在其中。尤其在一般書店,閱讀的感受通常不是很好。當你拿了一本書看上三、四個鐘頭,很有可能會感受到店員虎視眈眈的目光,緊盯著你究竟會不會拿起書本至櫃台結帳,這無疑破壞了閱讀的樂趣。

This takes away the fun of reading. You would not have this problem in libraries, but it wouldn’t be possible to get a coffee or tea to go along with your book. The idea of EP-BOOKS stemmed from finding a way to solve both problems.

在圖書館看書雖然不會有這樣的困擾,但無法同時享受一本好書搭配一杯咖啡或茶的滋味。益品書屋就是以解決這個為出發點,在此前提下催生出的書店。

Can you share with us how EP-BOOKS is managed and some of the challenges that you have encountered so far? How are customers reacting to this new bookstore concept? | 請問您是如何經營益品書屋呢?至今為止有沒有遇到什麼挑戰呢?顧客的反應又如何呢?

It goes back to creating a reading-friendly environment. Here, the atmosphere is much more lively, which allows everyone to find their own corner to hide away and dive into a book. We have fresh flowers and a violinist playing in the background in the afternoons and a spacious reading area. We do not sell books, so there is no pressure to make a purchase. The entrance fee is NT$100 and you are welcomed to stay here for as long as you like and with unlimited access to tea, coffee, and other drinks.

這點依舊和打造友善的閱讀環境有關,這裡的氛圍是活潑溫馨的,每個人都能在這裡找到一個專屬於自己的角落,安心躲進書本的世界。書桌上擺有鮮花,下午有時也會有小提琴家在此演奏。我們不賣書,所以消費者不會有買書的壓力;只要100 元,不限時間,就能在此盡情閱讀, 同時享受咖啡、茶等飲料,且無限暢飲。

Buying the right books that appeal to readers is more of a concern for me. For readers to pick up a book after the bookshelf, the topic needs to pique their curiosity, to begin with, so there should also be plenty of images inside to make it easy to read. Therefore, our books fall under categories such as aesthetics, food and dining, lifestyle, travel and children’s books.

對我來說,買到吸引人閱讀的書,比什麼都來的重要。要吸引客人從書架上拿起一本書,首先書的主題要足以引起好奇心。而書中有大量圖片,往往較能勾起人閱讀的欲望,因此我們以這為挑選考量,而主題則以美學、飲食、生活、旅遊及童書為主。

There is also the issue of establishing trust between the customers and us. We have no policies of getting your hand re-stamped for re-entry, nor do we have surveillance cameras. If we had these rules, it would be too complicated and ruin the satisfaction of savoring books.

我們同時也在建立跟顧客之間的信任感,出入書店我們不蓋手章,也沒有監視器。若有這些規定,單純的閱讀體驗就會變得複雜,也會降低閱讀的滿意度。

By The China Post