Apr 29, 2014 / 14:10

Book cafes perk up youth reading culture

The Hanoitimes - Book coffee shops are cropping up in major cities, attracting young people whose generation has increasingly turned its back on reading.

"We are fed up with entertainment places like clubs and bars. It is unreasonable to waste time, money and health in these places," said Thanh Huyen, a student from HCM City college of technology. "It is more interesting to sip some coffee or tea while sticking my head in a book. I have learnt more that way."

These libraries of sorts are particularly useful for students, who are typically on a limited budget.

"We cannot buy books for both studying and entertainment purposes with our limited monthly accommodation fee," said student Pham Van Duyen, a technology student from another university in HCM City.

Of course, people have frequented libraries and bookstores for many years, but these new cafes also aim to create a reading culture.

"Book coffee shops are good places for young people to satisfy their habit of drinking coffee and also read books," said Duyen.

Most book coffee shops have plenty of literary works from both Viet Nam and foreign countries. In HCM City, there are several elegantly designed cafes decorated with plants and colourful paint, creating a comfortable and quiet place to read.

Hub Book Coffee Shop on Cong Hoa Road, Tan Binh District, has over 1,000 books including novels as well as books on science and religion. Readers can linger over their books as long as they want.

"I opened the Hub to create a community of bookworms and provide a useful resource for students studying and researching," the owner said.

Ha Noi readers can visit Moc Mien at 19 Ho Tay Road, opened by Hoang Anh Tho in 2012 in order to share her passion for books with other book lovers.

"I want to promote reading among young people, especially literary books," said Tho. "Nowadays, those who are 20-30 don't have the habit of reading every day."

Shop visitors can peruse her 6,000 books while sipping a cup of coffee or mocktail. However, Tho thinks that young Hanoians read less than readers in HCM City.

"Seriously, I think young Hanoians are too lazy to read," Tho said. "Most young people come to the book coffee shop because it is trendy."

A couple at Book Coffee in 32/30 Ta Quang Buu Street, Ha Noi agreed with Tho. A second-year student at the Military Medical Academy, Tran Quang Ha said he and his friends often came to Book Coffee for group studying before examinations.

"The book coffee shop is very good for people who have a short break time to read books. But I just go to the Book Coffee with my friends to revise for exams because I have no time," Ha said.

Le Ha Thanh, who opened Book Coffee in 2010, said that while he originally aimed to promote reading among the youth, the cafe was mainly used for studying.

"It's much better that students come for studying than for chatting or football playing," said the shop owner. "Most young readers like comic or entertainment books. I try to guide them to literary works."