Explore Taipei Starting with These 11 Bookstores

There are so many things about Taipei that attract me - the countless delicacies at Taipei night markets, watching a performance at a livehouse that every artistic youth must visit, the old streets and alleys of Taipei, and these 11 bookstores that make Taipei worth visiting. I have been traveling for many years and initially only cared about visiting popular tourist spots and seeing crowds of people rather than enjoying the scenery. Now, I prefer slow travel and know what I want, and I am more willing to spend time doing things I like. So, I might only go to one place a day or visit only one bookstore and talk to one shopkeeper. I really like this quote, "Bookstores are like night, a piece of velvet; writers are light, shining and sparkling here, creating a beautiful starry sky."

Eslite bookstore

Although the target is independent bookstores, Eslite Bookstore is definitely a must-go on the pilgrimage. If Taipei 101 is the "geographic landmark" of Taipei, then Eslite Bookstore is the "cultural landmark" of Taipei. Not only in Taipei, Eslite Bookstores across Taiwan have become a renowned cultural symbol. If I can only go to one Eslite, I would choose the Dunhua South Road Dunnan store without hesitation. Not only because it is the first Eslite store in Taipei, but also because it is the filming location of the movie "One Page Taipei" - a love story between a bookstore clerk and a customer, showcasing the most artistic side of Taipei.
The famous arts and literature magazine Flavorwire once selected the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world. Among them, four are from Asia, and the one from Taiwan is the VVG something bookstore. Like Eslite, "Good Sample" has successfully operated many branches in Taiwan. However, unlike Eslite, the Good Sample series started as a restaurant, and the earliest bookstore was only opened in the "warehouse" opposite the restaurant. Because the founder of Good Sample, Ms. Wang Liqin, likes to travel and read, books, magazines, and souvenirs from all over the world piled up more and more in the "warehouse" until it turned into this small and beautiful bookstore in 2009.

Read music bookstore

Although Good Sample was selected as one of the world's 20 most beautiful bookstores, I was surprised by this Yuele Bookstore. Located in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, it was originally a scene specially built for the idol drama "The Bookstore in the Alley" and was lucky enough to be preserved after filming, becoming the current compound bookstore. Songshan Cultural and Creative Park was originally a tobacco factory, and the building where Yuele Bookstore is located was once the baby room for the employees of the tobacco factory.

The bluebird bookstore

Do you remember the story of "The Blue Bird" fairy tale? A pair of siblings set out on a journey to find the blue bird that can bring happiness to people, but eventually they discover that the blue bird was actually with them all along. The blue bird, which symbolizes happiness, also ultimately gained freedom and soared high.
I have heard that there are many second-hand bookstores in Taiwan, among them, the Jasmine Second-hand Bookstore is hailed as the "Eslite of the second-hand book world." Its owner is from Kinmen, and his previous work experience at 7-Eleven has provided him with inspiration for running a second-hand bookstore. Jasmine is not like the traditional impression of a second-hand bookstore: the books are stacked high like a mountain, and pulling out a book might knock down the book mountain. The books here are displayed in an orderly manner, and the store environment is clean and fresh. If you don't know, you can't tell that it is a second-hand bookstore.

Zhuxuan second-hand bookstore

Zhuxuan Used Bookstore was not originally on our list, and it was truly an encounter during our bookstore tour. If Jasmine Used Bookstore stands out from traditional used bookstores, then Zhuxuan Used Bookstore is a typical example of a traditional used bookstore.

Mang ge pick up second-hand bookstore

If you have watched the movie "Monga", you must have a deep impression of the oldest district in the city. In the Monga old street, which is full of the atmosphere of the market, there is a very stylish second-hand bookstore with a special name called "Mang Ge Shi Yi". "Mang Ge" is the earliest Chinese character that appeared in Wanhua District, to which Monga Old Street belongs, and "Shi Yi" represents the collection of valuable items that have been abandoned.
If you are interested in independent music in Taiwan, you must know about Witch House, a must-go live house for young artists. Upstairs from Witch House is the first feminist professional bookshop in the Chinese-speaking world, founded in 1994, called Woman Bookstore. The store was opened by a group of women and its displayed and sold books are all related to women: books written by women, books written for women and books related to women.
Near the NTNU night market, there is a bookstore that can be called a favorite of book lovers in Taipei. This high-level bookstore has been open for decades, and its biggest sign is "the cheapest bookstore in Taiwan". Unlike the bright and pleasant atmosphere of the previous few bookstores, Standard Bookstore is not only not beautiful at first glance, it is even a bit like a warehouse with books and boxes piled up. The aisle can only accommodate two people passing by, but the books it sells are very comprehensive. Basically, the books that can be found in Eslite can be seen here, but the prices are much cheaper.
If a good sample is like entering the Wonderland of Alice by mistake, then the Flower Squirrel Picture Book Museum is like a fairytale cabin in the heart of the city. This small store, dedicated to children's books, opened in the spring of 2010, with green fences, large floor-to-ceiling windows, vintage signs, and a robust and flourishing tree in the yard, just like the fairytale books we read when we were young.
The director of "Images of the Bookstore", Hou Jiran, once said, "After filming, I realized that running a bookstore is a tough and unromantic industry. I am also grateful that these bookstores have preserved cultural diversity in Taiwan, where chain stores abound." If we talk about cultural diversity, Jingjing Bookstore, established in 1999, is a great example. It is the first LGBTQ-themed bookstore in Taiwan and the Chinese-speaking region, and also the first LGBTQ-themed multi-functional store in the Chinese-speaking region.