The image in this blog post has been taken from the China Daily web site. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
I also visited the amazingly dreamy Zhongshuge (钟书阁) bookstore in Shanghai’s Reel Mall this June. Have a look at this video, which gives you a short glimpse into this fantastic store. I didn’t add the music, it was playing over the speakers in the store.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019.
I wish bookstores here in the UK would be a bit more like this one.
Today: another visit to Shanghai’s Baixin Stationery Store. This small I think they have four branches. chain of stationery stores used to be called Baixin Bookstore, but they are now known as Baixin Stationery Store. One of their bigger stores is on Fuzhou Road, whereas this branch in Metro City, in Shanghai’s Xujiahui area, is their smallest branch.
I’ll try to use this blog post to recreate the experience of visiting this store ..so there’ll be lots of photos. If you are on a metered connection (i.e. you pay for the data) you might want to leave now and revisit this blog post when you are on a better Internet connection.
We (my wife, our kid and me) went to this Baixin branch after finishing our nice lunch (photo above) in the same building: at Shanghai Alley / Food Republic on Metro City’s top floor.
Despite it’s small size it has a lot of choice and you can always find special editions of pens there. Look carefully how small the shop is. This is not the entrance, but the whole shop! I don’t know how they managed to fit so much exciting stuff in there.
The employee was extremely knowledgable and helpful. A mix you don’t encounter often on the high street these days.
I am not sure whether this special edition of the Orenz mechanical pencil is aimed again at girls or whether there’s something more strange going on here. I’ll only show you the cover of Pentel’s brochure and the page with the pencils. Some other pages in the brochure are more extreme than the cover, so I omit them from this blog post.
As is common in shops for ‘lifestyle stationery’ in Shanghai, there’s a big selection of Zebra’s Sarasa pens. Here’s a small selection of the Sarasa special edition corner.
At home I am using Lihit Lab products on a daily basis, so I was happy to see that they are popular in Shanghai, too.
There were also other pencil cases I have seen before, like the Zip It line (pictured below) I got to know at the Insights X 2016. They are popular in the UK, too. So much so that cheap knock offs (£2 each) even made it into British shops.
..and there were more exciting mechanical pencils in another corner of this very small shop (pictured below). Here in Europe 0.5mm seems to be the norm and many companies, like Lamy and Graf von Faber-Castell, seem to move away from 0.5mm and shift their offers towards 0.7mm. I assume this must be down to customers preferring bigger lead diameters. Seeing a nice choice of 0.3mm mechanical pencils in Baixin certainly made me happy and gave me hope that small diameters are here to stay.
With so much nice stationery the Wopex is of course not missing from this store either. Many lifestyle stationery stores in Shanghai sell it.
If you want to try any of the pencils you can make use of Baixin’s sharpening station, which is basically an empty drink bottle with a sharpener screwed on top. I didn’t see the sharpener screw top for sale, though.
Since we’re talking about sharpeners: let’s move on to wood cased pencils and how to protect them. It was nice to see the Hi-uni pencil caps in real life. I read about them in the past, but never saw them on the high street in the UK.
Some of the erasers on sale looked very exotic.
Chinese inks are not that popular in the west (or should that be ‘not yet’), so it was nice to see some new Chinese inks I hadn’t seen in previous years.
Kokuyo makes some great products. My favourite are their stapleless staplers, but I also like their paper. These multi purpose scissors were new to me.
Kokuyo also had this new product which reminded me very much of the Col-O-Ring.
The employee told us that six months ago Kokuyo started having problems getting the paper, so you can’t get this version with very nice paper anymore. There are still similar products from Kokuyo, but with inferior paper.
Schneider pens have been in Shanghai for many years. When I first saw them it seemed to come as a surprise, because they are not that popular in the UK (which is so much closer to their country of origin).
There was also an abundance of masking tape and related accessories…
..as well as other, more general accessories.
This being Shanghai ‘high tech’ stationery, like this bluetooth printer, is also popular.
It’s using thermal paper like a fax machine and people don’t only use it to print black and white versions of their phone’s photos and cute stickers and images (you can even get lace paper for it) – according to the employee of this store it’s also being used to print to do lists in schools, for the pupils to take home.
What a great shop. I wish there was something similar closer to where we live.
Another Shanghai post and a quick look at another bookstore. This one is in Shanghai’s Pudong district, very close to the Oriental Pearl Tower. The official English name seems to be ‘Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum’.
It’s one of the most unusual bookstores I have seen. It is directly outside some of the busiest streets of buzzing Shanghai, the most populous city in the world (more inhabitants than Australia or more than Ireland, Austria and Switzerland together).
Inside, it is an unexpected oasis of calmness, though. When you enter the bookstore you are in the Café area.
Coffee and cakes aren’t cheap here, but then again they aren’t that much more expensive than in nearby chains like Starbucks.
The bookstore consists of several small building, all encased in the garden that surrounds them.
People can sit there and read a book, while enjoying their hot drinks.
Most tables also have buttons you can press to summon a helpful employee.
The whole place was extremely clean, but despite outside being very busy (nearly chaotically busy) there was only one other customer (except us) in all the small buildings..
I hope this kind of bookstore can survive. I assume it is somehow subsidised, but I am not sure how long that will last in a fast changing place like Shanghai.