Promoting a good Habit
The new Thailand Book Tower offers books, books and more books. But the question is, will this get the youngsters reading anything else apart from comics and magazines?
It looks like an average shopping complex, but instead of clothes and other things, the shelves here are filled with books, books and more books. It's the Thailand Book Tower (TBT), the first complex of its kind in Thailand, which opened last week with the goal of creating a reading society. It offers over a million titles on nine floors.
"This is where you can choose from various publishers in one centre.
"Instead of department stores, we hope, the Thailand Book Tower will become a frequent meeting place for the younger generation. A place where they can buy any type of book they like," says Charnvit Jarusombathi, executive vice president of Double A and one of the ten advisers to the TBT.
"It's different from other bookstores in shopping malls, because people who come to buy books at TBT won't have to wander around - they'll only have one objective in mind - to buy books," he says.
Many publishers who've never before opened a bookstore of their own have put their collections in the new retail space. Matichon, known for its contemporary and historical books, has its own section here. Bear Publishing, devoted to mystery novels and Sudoku games, has also joined the club. Kled Thai Publishing, with its rare literary books can also be found in this book lovers' paradise. For those who need business and management books, Nation Books has opened its first store here. In total there are 400 publishers in 41 stores.
"We don't restrict the type of publisher, as we want to create a reading society where all types of books are available for everyone," says Charnvit.
The complex has 6,000 square metres and caters to young readers and adults alike. On the first floor, the Top Hit Zone accommodates popular books and best sellers, including those by SeaWrite nominees and winners.
On the second floor is the Feeling Zone, the home of contemporary literature and Chinese martial arts books. Anyone interested in health and beauty can head up to the Living Zone on the third floor, while the Brain Zone on the fifth floor provides books on learning, technology, computers and management.
Designed to encourage the younger generation to read more, the fourth and sixth floors - the Kids' Zone and Lively Zone - are dedicated to Thai and English illustrated storybooks, comic books and romantic novels. They also include DVDs and toys.
The TBT has already launched a "School Visit" promotion, where students can pick up books at special prices.
At one recent visit, the young students all had satisfied smiles on their faces as they grabbed their favourite titles.
Charnvit says the complex's conference room on the ninth floor will also be available for meetings and book launches, as many new authors usually don't have suitable places to promote their books.
The complex also has a lounge, food zone, an Internet cafe and a computer system on each floor to help customers find what they're looking for.
"We have a search engine where you can easily find the titles you want, plus a book consultant at each counter to help you with problems and provide assistance," says Charnvit.
Unfortunately, there are very few English books for adults. There's also very little seating room with the exception of the food zone and conference room.
However, Charnvit says there will be more meetings with all of the TBT advisers to further improve and develop the complex. "We might include a library for lending hard-to-find books."
The Thailand Book Tower is at 122 Sathorn Nua Road, near the old Kasetrungreuang building. The Surasak or Chong Nonsi BTS stations are nearby. Membership is free until the end of December. The "buy one get one free" promotion runs until October 17.