An employee prepares Thursday for the Saturday opening of Page One. Photo: Wang Zi/GT
To the delight of bibliophiles, Singapore's Page One will open its first bookstore in Beijing this Saturday.
It will be the second of the chain's bookstores to open in the Chinese mainland. The first was established in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, last June.
The store's design is meant to resemble a sishu, an old-fashioned private Chinese school, with distinctive brown furniture and shelves.
"Beijing has a rich cultural background. We aim to dig those cultural elements out and convey them to our customers, making them feel comfortable," Sun Qian, manager of the bookstore, told the Global Times Thursday.
The store will offer some 150,000 books, and of those, more than 65 percent are in English, with the rest written in simplified and traditional Chinese.
Sun said that most of the English-language books are imported from countries such as the US and Britain, while the books in traditional Chinese are from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
She explained that due to import duties, prices for English books are about 20 yuan ($3.05) higher than those in Chinese, whose prices average 40 yuan.
Page One was established in Singapore in 1983 and became known for its stock of art and design books.
"Art and design books are our highlight, and such books are not easily found in other bookstores," Sun said, adding that some English books of that genre cost 1,000 to 2,000 yuan each.
"It's similar to the reason for buying a Louis Vuitton bag. If you need it and love it, you would buy it," she said.
"Without other bookstores nearby, it will become my number one choice," Wang Mingjie, who works in a law firm in the mall, told the Global Times upon learning of Page One's arrival in Beijing.