July 16, 2007

Shanghai, China - A Geekland

The book stores are sights-to-see for anyone who makes it to the financial capital of China - Shanghai. A walk into any bookstore at any time of the day is like walking through narrow streets packed with people. Bookstores reveal the true side of the geek land. Every aisle in the book store had dozens of geeks standing, sitting, squatting and reading books!

Walking through the narrow aisles was a challenging task most of the time.
Some facts about bookstores in Shanghai (my experience):
  • Most of the books found on the bookshelves were in Chinese
  • Most of the books had dog ears
  • Almost 90% of the walking area was occupied by squatting/sitting readers
  • Almost 50% of the corners were blocked by readers
  • 90% of the readers were seriously reading and taking notes, 10% of them seemed to be listening to music and browsing/waiting for someone
  • The persons at the cash counters at the exit of each bookstore seemed jobless (and reading too!)

Given this kind of a marketplace, I have been wondering the motivation behind opening a bookstore in Shanghai. It might be profitable to open a library - Won't it?

The other interesting observation was that they listed GMAT/ GRE/ SAT books under a section called "Kids Books"! Smart kids indeed!

Before I close, here are a couple of interesting videos of a typical Shanghai bookstore...

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