Page One opens 24-hour bookstore in Qianmen
By Song Yaotian
Running a bookstore nowadays might not be an easy way to make money. But some bookstores are determined to meet  – if not defeat – the challenges of the digital age. 
The Page One bookseller already has three popular branches in the Chinese capital. It's just opened another one on Qianmen promenade, while trialing a 24-hour schedule.
Qianmen pedestrian street in Beijing, near Tian'anmen Square, was renovated in 2009. 
But the street – with its mix of old Beijing culture and modernity – didn't become a major draw for either tourists or locals until recently. 
The new Page One bookstore is an example of the street's trendy modern flair. Just a few steps from the archway and the tram rails is the newly opened Page One bookstore. 
It brings an air of culture to the old commercial street. The peaceful atmosphere inside also provides an ideal space for travelers to take a rest while also enriching their minds. 
The interior design of Page One. /CGTN Photo

The interior design of Page One. /CGTN Photo

Designed by the same architect as the so-called world's loneliest library in Beidaihe, this Page One branch is as much an architectural attraction as a bookstore. 
The white building is reminiscent of a traditional Beijing courtyard, while the "black tower" changes "theme" every month. This month's theme is children's books.
Page One previously specialized in art design books and English titles. Now it has expanded into all categories. 
Literature, history, science, art, lifestyle, bestsellers, children... there's something for everyone. 
Christian Parreno from Ecuador came across the bookshop by chance. “The interior architecture of the place is beautiful. I'm looking for some Chinese literature translated into English,” he said.
Visitor Liu Sha says, “I liked to hang out in Qianmen when I was a kid. It's such a good thing that there is a bookstore here.” 
Student Song Yuxin also said, “Although online bookstores are so vibrant, I still like the atmosphere of a bookstore, and the feel of leafing through the pages.”
It seems no modern bookstore can do without its own cafe. The hope is people drawn in by the aroma will end up buying a book. 
Page One's cafe is on the third floor. Here, the best company for a cup of coffee would be a paper book. The store's windows act as frames for the scenery outside, which is full of traditional residential houses. You take in different views of the city while you roam through the store.
Meanwhile, a plant zone brings some nature inside the building. In the future, the plants will also be for sale, providing another source of income for the bookshop.
Many modern bookstores now let people read without having to buy. People can sit as long as they want, even all night. 
The interior design of‍ Page One. /CGTN Photo

The interior design of‍ Page One. /CGTN Photo

But is a 24-hour bookstore necessary? Is it only for night owls to hang out and buy books? 
At 10:30 p.m., there are still people in the store, even though only the first floor is open this late.
Surprisingly, almost all the people I spoke to support the idea of a 24-hour bookstore. Visitor Lian Huabei says, “I think it's absolutely necessary. There are 24-hour eateries, 24-hour bars, why not bookstores? I always sleep during the day and am awake at night. I'm the kind of person whose brain is more active during the night than daytime. Many writers or artists are nocturnal. A 24-hour bookstore might have no people. But you have to have one.”
Visitor Li Kunduo says, “I would come here after work. Read something to improve myself.” 
Graduate student Nier and her friend also think a city needs a 24-hour bookstore. “This is very attractive to me. If I hang out late with friends, I would like to have a quiet place like this to stay for a while other than McDonalds. ”