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Readers in the dark at bookstore in southern Taiwan

Wuguan Books in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung featured by CNN for unusual atmosphere

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Wuguan Books allows readers to shop in extreme darkness. (Facebook, Wuguan Books photo)

Wuguan Books allows readers to shop in extreme darkness. (Facebook, Wuguan Books photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Wuguan Books (無關書店), an experimental bookstore in Kaohsiung, was featured by CNN Travel Friday (Oct. 23) for its quirky setup that allows readers to flip through books in extreme darkness.

Located at the Pier-2 Art Center, the unusual bookstore was designed by Taiwanese architect Chu Chih-kang (朱志康) and has nearly 400 bookshelves illuminated by dim spotlights. Its peculiar lighting design aims to heighten readers' senses so they can focus on the books.

The use of flashlights or flash photography is prohibited, while the bookstore displays each book in elaborate spotlights, giving the illusion that it is floating. Humorous signs, including Harry Potter references and what to do if stepped on by another person.

Store manager Su Yu-shan (蘇郁珊) told CNN that selling books is not the main purpose of Wuguan. She said it is more important for readers to experience "soul reading," or communication with their inner selves.

She said the dark environment gives visitors a chance to explore books they normally would avoid out of fear of being judged. She added that some of Wuguan's books are associated with emotions and can help people "face their wounds."

According to CNA, Wuguan Books is open only to visitors aged 18 and above due to its erotic book collection and sex merchandise. It also sells home accessories and products such as "misfortune cookies."

Readers in the dark at bookstore in southern Taiwan
Dim spotlights give the illusion the books are floating. (Facebook, Wuguan Books photo)

Readers in the dark at bookstore in southern Taiwan
Visitors can purchase "misfortune cookies" at Wuguan. (Facebook, Wuguan Books photo)