Eslite hopes to keep bookstores alive in Taiwan

Iconic Taiwanese bookstore chain celebrates 30 years

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Eslite celebrates 30 years of operations Dec. 4. (Eslite photo)

Eslite celebrates 30 years of operations Dec. 4. (Eslite photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's popular Eslite Spectrum Corp. released its annual report on reading behaviors and market trends Wednesday (Dec. 4) as it celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Established in 1989, Eslite has built up its reputation as one of the largest retail bookstore chains in Taiwan. Its stores also house a large number of English language publications and translation materials.

At a ceremony marking the occasion, Eslite Chairperson Mercy Wu (吳旻潔) said that running bookstores in Taiwan is extremely difficult, with 100 different factors contributing to business losses. She added that the major challenge the Taiwanese company has to conquer every year is developing a profitable model for operating the stores, reported Manager Today.

Wu remarked that when she took over in 2017 after the passing of her father, Eslite-founder Robert Wu (吳清友), she could not understand how the Eslite's bookstores had lost NT$2 billion in 15 years. She said that gradually, she realized that a company could not survive solely by running bookstores and decided to expand into other areas, including shopping malls and appliances and equipment for use by hotels and restaurants.

Comparing the bookstore chain to the North Star, Wu said that all of Eslite's operations still circle around its bookstores. She further revealed that the management team had been actively evaluating markets in Southeast Asia and that their first overseas base of operations would likely be in Malaysia, reported CNA.


Eslite Chairperson Mercy Wu. (Eslite photo)