Taiwan Church News
July 4 – 10, 2016
PCT’s Centennial Bookstore
As the number of Taiwan’s substantial bookstore drastically declines within a decade, 400 bookstores are disappeared in 9 years’ time, many measures like advertising the benefits of reading, increasing the reading population and etc are proposed to support a basic growth of substantial bookstore. To prevent a deteriorating reduction of those substantial bookstores and transform into a micro cultural center with local characteristics in communities, Ministry of Culture has started to finance them as a hub in promotion of reading habits, publication of new books with the writers and engagement in marketing.
The disappearance of substantial bookstore in society means a real change of the form of our daily lives. It tell the story that some of our habits and living space are flushed away in time. Social demands of reading still exists, but they have found another outlet and no more spend money and time in those substantial bookstores. When bookstores websites are burgeoning everywhere on the internet, digital reading becomes a mainstream and traditional libraries attract and maintain most of readers through their abundant and up-to-date resources, the space of substantial bookstore is naturally suppressed.
Some good old places, though, are nostalgic yet however they will be gone. For example, when the bright and sweet convenient stores were set up one by one around the corner at every local community in 1990s, the time of those old-styled grocery-stores which greeted us with human touches and allowed us to write IOU has come to an end not far away.
Traditional substantial bookstore has a similar crisis to close down under a new age of digital reading and e-commerce. Except following the tactics of online bookstores, digital reading companies, public libraries, or even developing second-handed books market via certain discounts as a gurantee buyback, the most suitable solution for a traditional bookstore to survive is to transform herself into a center cultural innovation: an imaginative combination of the bookstore’s historical characteristics and local demands! Thus, an attractive and innovative new space could be created to offer the contents and experiences that on-line bookstore or public library could not offer.
PCT also possesses a traditional substantial bookstore – Taiwan Church Press(TCP) – over 132 years, with branch bookstores located in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. All PCT churches, though, are very generous to donate for TCP in annual July as a commemorative month for the ministry of words, the survival crisis of Taiwan’s substantial bookstore is also fallen upon TCP’s four major branch bookstores.
On July 12, the commemorative day of launching the publication of Taiwan Church News, an interior reconstruction will be imposed at the Tainan headquarter and bookstore of Taiwan Church Press. From underground up to the 2nd floor, this is an overhaul of the interior space, combining the historical development from China’s Ching Dynasty, Japan’s ruling period up to modern Taiwan and expecting to reinvigorate people’s imagination about traditional substantial bookstore. The opening date of this brand new bookstore is scheduled on Oct 20, as the evening of this very date in 1895 was the time Rev. Thomas Barclay negotiated with the Japanese army for a peaceful entry into Tainan.
Oct 21 is not only a historical day, commemorating Rev. Thomas Barclay’s successful negotiation resulting a peaceful entry of the Japanese army, but also a new start of TCP’s Tainan bookstore. In order to expand our ministry of words into the fields of literature and culture, many new ideas created in space will be dedicated to the church and Taiwan society, including a mini-sized performance stage, decorative arts gallery and a new service auditorium. The bookstore will be transformed into a brand new art gallery with cultural innovations, historical records and literary imaginations. In the meantime, a fair space combining cafe, reading, musics, cultural goods and souvenir will be arranged to meet the customers’ demand.
Of course, old bookstores fade away and closed up. But after a transforming revival, we will be capable to face the challenges of the next new century at a brand new space to assembly, share and proclaim. An renaissance of Chû-tin-tông a hundred years ago!