Friday, May 24, 2019

Retail report from Taiwan

As readers of the blog know, I love visiting bookstores and getting ideas from other booksellers. Sometimes, however, inspiration can travel beyond the bookstore, and even beyond the border, as this note from my sister Claudia reveals. She was recently in Taiwan for a conference and visited her long-time friends. When she was a grad student in Chinese, you weren't able to go to mainland China for study.

"Yesterday I spent the evening with my old friends from Taiwan, Tsungling and Hsinming, along with their daughter. When I had visited two years ago, Hsinming was following his dream and had opened a small record store in Keelong, a port city north of Taipei. It didn't work out, and he opened a small bakery in Taipei with some friends. As he has developed the business, he has been taking inspiration from you. He told me he reads your bookstore newsletter regularly.

"The bakery has begun hosting community events such as a tea tasting (he and Tsungling know a lot about Chinese tea) and music events featuring seniors who revive traditional music. Recently they've re-opened the record store within the bakery. He seems really happy with the direction things have moved in.

"The last time I saw the daughter she was nine years old and spent the whole day giving me a detailed plot summary of Frozen. Now she is a young lady, and we talked about popular music. She knows the K-pop groups and I showed her videos of Beyoncé** and some other American singers. Hsinming confirmed that they were important American pop singers, and she was dutifully impressed."

If I were writing a business book (or perhaps I have caught business inspiration fever after selling books for Daniel Steininger's Moving Mountains Every Day this week*), my take-away from this would be that inspiration is everywhere. Hsinming, hope to someday visit you in Taiwan!

*Hey, you know I have to link to at least one book.

**Shout out to Teasha. Don't say I never mention Beyoncé in this blog.

No comments: