By Lê Hương & Minh Phương
Entering a bookshop, choosing a favourite title, and skimming through for as long as you want with some relaxing music gently playing in the background, without being frowned at by the shopkeeper. This is surely a dream for book lovers in Việt Nam.
Yet, the dream has come true in a small bookshop in downtown Hà Nội – the first-ever self-service bookshop in the city, which opened just a few weeks ago.
Self-service shops are popular in many countries. But they are new to Việt Nam.
Losing herself in books, customer Đàm Như Quỳnh could not hide her satisfaction.
“I love books very much and often visit book stores when I have spare time,” she said. “This is the first time I have visited a self-service bookshop. I feel so curious. I think it’s a fresh idea here. I hope the shop will offer more books to meet customers’ demands.”
|SNUG: The small self-service bookshop. VNS Photo Minh Phương|
Quỳnh said she felt comfortable there, where she could choose books freely and read as long as she wanted without any limitation or warning.
Trương Thủy, a co-founder of the bookshop, said she and three other friends had cooperated to set up the bookshop.
“My friend, Thảo, was inspired by self-service shops in Japan and other countries, where people hang agricultural produce on their fences,” she said. “People take them and pay money in a box. The self-service shops are so interesting. Thảo owns a bookshop and she sells mostly online. She wanted to open an offline bookshop, which requires a big budget. I have this space. So, we decided to set up the self-service bookshop to save budget.”
Thủy said the shop owners wanted to offer a different experience in buying books for customers.
“They can choose books carefully before they decide to buy them,” she said. “Many people bought books online and then never touched them even once,” she said.
Thủy said the owners had selected the books carefully for the shop. Though they offer quite few titles. Most of the books are for children.
|BOOKWORM: Customers can choose books as long as they wish. VNS Photo Minh Phương|
“In our small shop, children can enjoy choosing books they want while the parents sit in a corner and read and sip some tea,” she said.
Customers can just scan a code to pay for the book.
Thủy said they wanted to open "more self-service bookshops like this”, but "it needs to wait for some more time to see if the customers welcome it".
Five-year-old An Dương Ngọc Anh played with her friend Nguyễn Anh Thư, at the shop after returning from their kindergarten.
“I feel very happy in this bookshop,” she said. “I found many beautiful books for me to choose from.”
|ENGROSSED: Most of the books here are for children. VNS Photo Minh Phương|
Thư said she loves the many interesting books at the shop. “My mum often reads books to me at night,” she said.
The small bookshop also offers various chill corners for customers to chat, and take photos. It is a highly recommended destination for all book lovers in the capital. VNS
|BOOKS GALORE: The owners want to open a series of self-service bookshop throughout the country. VNS Photo Minh Phương|