Beijing’s Newest 24-Hour Bookstore to Serve as Sanlitun’s “Quiet Cultural Sanctuary”

Late-night Sanlitun denizens and aficionados in need of a destination after closing time can now muse over their sobering thoughts at Beijing's newest 24-hour bookstore located on the site of Sanlitun's former "dirty bar street."

At over 600sqm, the 50,000 book-strong bookstore is the latest retail franchise by Sanlian Taofen that looks to serve customers from its optimal downtown location just north of Taikooli Mall. Featuring bookshelves that tower two-stories high, the bookstore is also home to one of modern China's most culturally-significant destinations: a café. 

Beijing has experienced a glut of new bookstore openings lately, many of which are touted as offering 24-hour service. In fact, this new bookstore happens to sit adjacent to yet another Sanlitun bookstore that opened last year as well as the more foreigner-friendly but slowly dying Page One branch in Taikooli Mall.

Among all this competition in what can only be described as a "buyer's market," this latest of a string of openings has been heralded by local media as a major event for the city with wide-reaching consequences.

READ: When Automated Meets "Spiritual Nourishment": First 24-Hour Staffless Bookstore Opens in Beijing

Ostensibly a box with elevated catwalks, the new bookstore's layout was inspired by a northern Song dynasty map that allows shoppers to experience a "meandering journey through cultural knowledge."

But that's not all. Qianlong hails the Sanlitun 24-hour bookstore as "a quiet cultural sanctuary" that will usher in greater changes to come.

READ: China to Provide "Spiritual Nourishment" With Multiple 24-Hour Bookstores Opening in Beijing

"In an area as international, diversified, and fashionable as Sanlitun, the bookstore will spread Chinese culture to the world as well as allowing readers a better understanding of China and the world," reported Qianlong, which went on to say that "such a bookstore is vital towards the construction of a 'cultural Sanlitun'" and will help turn the neighborhood into an "international communication center."

There may be a place for yet another bookstore in Beijing, maybe even one that runs all day long. But it remains that Sanlitun's reputation as an "international communication center" has already long been established, one where relationships are forged by reading between the lines.

Sanlian Taofen
Daily 24-hours. 43 Bei Sanlitun Lu, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District

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Photo: Weibo (1, 2)