In Taiwan and many surrounding countries you can find people reading in book stores. They do not just open a book quickly to take a look inside. They sit down, get comfortable, and read. This store was so full with people busy reading it was almost hard to walk past them. Some people seems to sit until they finished the book … and if they didn’t have time they might as well return later. Reading a book in the store but not paying for it, maybe it’s a great way to save money?
In Sweden people might read books and magazines in stores, but it is considering impolite. We are shy for the storekeeper to see us, or that other costumers would look down on us. Usually I will just open a book a little bit, without bending it fully open, and carefully flap through some pages. Swedes don’t really want to buy a new book which has already been bent open, but maybe that’s no great concern here?
While wandering around in Hsinchu the other day I found that we have our own branch of the Elite Bookstore. It is not at all as big as the famous one in Taipei, but it is a good place it you feel like reading free books.
In order to behave like a good Taiwanese I checked out some books too. The majority was written in Chinese but I found a shelf with English books devoted to Angela Merkel, along with some self-help books with titles like “how to attract the man you want” and some books for little children. Non of them really caught my attention. So instead I looked around and found some cute children’s books. This one was only with pictures and even a lost foreigner could understand the story!