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Bookshop tells a story of hope

(China Daily)|Updated : 2020-06-19

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A visitor to Jetlag Books reads a magazine in the store.[Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

Lian has been fascinated with magazines since university and worked as an editor with GQ magazine for five years, so it seems natural for him to underscore magazines in his own bookshop.

"There are two reasons why I sell magazines, mostly foreign magazines. First, we are in Sanlitun, where people accept these kinds of magazines more," he says. "Second, I really love magazines, and we, as a media company, hope that what we love can be enjoyed by more readers."

Lian is now a popular blogger, who also runs a media company and the bookshop.

The design of the bookshop seems unusual, with the deep-blue ceiling and the white, luminous backboard of the bookshelves providing a welllit space.

With the principle to "share world news, beauty and originality", the bookstore sees its target readership as regular global travelers and creative people, Lian says.

Cai explained in a previous interview that she had the idea for an interior design where the bookshelves can be easily rearranged to meet the changing needs of the store.

"The luminous backboards of the bookshelves are also illuminants, which is the starting point for us to choose the materials. Because books are varied, so the backboard should be neutral and quiet to present books as the main characters in the bookshop," Cai said. "Jetlag is a word reminding people of time, travel and insomnia, the folding of day and night, but travelers should be peaceful inside."

Deep blue represents the "night sky and sea, an abstract of traveling, profound, but not depressing, not heavy like black or deep gray", so she chose the deep blue to match the luminous backboard.

Walking inside further, visitors will find books in Chinese and other languages. "The foreign books that we choose will hopefully offer some inspiration for creative people and global travelers, while Chinese books focus on world literature and geography," Lian says.

In the center of the store is a square display platform, which, besides books, will be used to host small shows for independent artists. "We are a small bookshop, so it is impossible for us to host large-scale events like many bookshops do," he says.

As a regular global traveler himself, he loves visiting bookshops around the world. One of his favorites is Soda in Berlin, Germany, which inspired him to open his own bookshop.

Lian fondly recalls the visit because visitors and owners seem to understand each other without speaking a word. "The bookshop creates a community for similar people, which is exactly what I want to do-a small and beautiful bookshop that can develop a kind of culture and community, where cashiers know magazines and books, and can help to recommend books, or just talk with customers about books or design," Lian says.

"In this sense, small bookshops are more friendly, allowing staff members to interact with customers."