A 'read-only' installation goes viral

2021-01-08 12:04:10

A visitor reads at the pop-up Reading Autumn Bookstore, which opened in Shanghai's Songjiang district from Dec 12 to 26. [Photo provided to China Daily] A pop-up installation that looked like a bookstore in Shanghai recently drew much attention because of its unusual offering. Within the 9-square-meter space, which could accommodate only six people, the 3,000 books on display were not for sale or loan. Visitors could only read. Called Reading Autumn Bookstore, or Weijue Bookstore, the installation was situated on Zhongshan West Road in Songjiang district from Dec 12 to 26 and attracted about 500 visitors. "Our pace of life is getting faster. Today, we can only read books when we have fragments of time. The way we seek information has also changed from reading books to reading tweets or watching Tik-Tok," says Zhuang Jie, one of the five people behind the installation. "We hope to inspire visitors to rethink their way of reading while inside our bookstore. We also want to provide a new option and experience for the young generations, who have not experienced much traditional reading." Zhuang says that visitor numbers had exceeded expectations. "People were even willing to wait in line to enter. We realized that we might all yearn to read but just need a window to do it," he says. The installation also proved to be a hit online. Reading Autumn was among the most searched terms on social platform Sina Weibo, with related articles garnering about 17 million views. Famous writer Rao Xueman also mentioned the installation on her Weibo account, saying that she hopes to roll out a similar project in the future. Zhuang says that similar installations will be launched soon, though the format and time have yet to be finalized. These installations, he hints, might have to do with old toys and their stories.