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Museum-style bookstore to woo art lovers
WHILE many readers today choose to buy books online or curl up in a sofa with their Kindle, Artron, a Shenzhen-based cultural firm, is trying to lure art lovers back into a real bookstore.
The 8,000-square-meter bookstore, housed in the six-story Artron Art Center on Shenyun Road, Nanshan District, is adding the final touches to its interior decor for an opening in March of next year. The biggest art bookstore in China, it will be home to 50,000 copies of art-themed books by 1,800 publishers from around the world.
Inside the bookstore, a 30-meter-tall, 50-meter-long “Artron Wall,” a huge shelf of art books extending up a few floors, will greet readers. The bookstore will also feature a public reading space and study rooms for VIP guests. The four studies will feature avant-garde, simplistic, fashionable and classic Chinese styles.
Readers will be able to search for the books they want by using a smartphone app, and then a staff member will help them locate it in the store. A team of professionals, all art major graduates and students, will serve as “tour guides” to help readers find the books they want.
“We hope to perfectly combine a traditional bookstore and modern information technology,” said Wan Jie, chairperson of Artron group. “The bookstore will be an art center where the general public can learn about, appreciate and buy art-related products. We hope to serve as a bridge between artists and the public.”
“At our bookstore, people can easily find what they want via our database and then read the books in a comfortable environment.” Professionalism will be the key to attracting art lovers, he said.
Unlike many other bookstores that often arrange art-themed books under general categories of fine arts, architecture, photography, etc., the Artron bookstore will further categorize books for the convenience of professional readers. For example, under the category of photography, readers can easily find books specializing in architecture photography, landscape photography, photography in advertising and people and portrait photography.
Besides books in print, the bookstore will also provide photocopy versions of precious antique books and regularly hold free art exhibitions and lectures.
“We are also considering setting up an in-house exhibition of replicate art works from the Forbidden City, with whom we have a long-term cooperation,” Wan said.
The first Artron art-themed bookstore opened in the Guangdong Museum of Art in Ershadao, Guangzhou in August 2012. Artron, a leader in art printing and China’s biggest online art information platform, does not worry about whether bookstores are profitable.
“Sometimes you cannot separate public benefits from business,” Wan said. “For us, our business will only prosper if more and more people learn to appreciate art and embrace it.”
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