Author Hsinya Teng, Lin
Photographer Weight Books, Sungood Books, moom bookshop, Pon Ding
Since 1999, Taipei has been home to the world’s pioneering 24-hour bookstore. The Eslite Dunnan Store, once a year-round haven for book lovers, stood strong for more than two decades until it was closed in 2020 and replaced by the Eslite Xinyi Store, which will soon be succeeded by the Eslite Songyan Store. Eslite’s presence endows Taipei with an unmistakable “City of Readers” image that resonates on the global stage.
While physical books have faced the challenges brought on by the digital age, the presence of creative and unique bookstores in Taipei remains as vibrant as ever. Many bookstores have evolved into diverse, multifaceted spaces that reflect the unique tastes and personalities of their owners. Such presence is proof positive that the physical space of a bookstore is an irreplaceable treasure. It is a place where passionate creators convene to hone and harness their creative vibrations.
The four bookstores featured in this article, all specializing in art and design, are unique in their operational approach, spatial design, and curation, making them each a center of creative nourishment for the city.
Weight Books (重本書店)
Founded by graphic designer Yeh Chungyi (葉忠宜), Weight Books focuses on graphic design and typography. Yeh’s passion for graphic design is evident in every corner of the store. The design revolves around the broad theme of “Space.” You will find metal bookcases, a ceiling made of noise-reducing aluminum foam, a bar with floating balloon lights, and booths with silver-painted walls. It is an intimate universe where readers can be completely immersed in their reading.
The store has designer chairs by Tendo Mokko (天童木工), a renowned Japanese furniture manufacturer that combines ergonomic comfort with exquisite aesthetics. The bookstore also features two handmade speakers that offer visitors an elevated musical experience. From its book selection to the meticulously curated furniture, Weight Books is like an old friend who can’t wait to share their collection with their friends.
Weight Books also collaborates with experts from various industries on themed exhibitions and culinary creations. For example, a special Ryuichi Sakamoto (坂本龍一) exhibition organized by a graphic designer, and a “Coffee Fine Dining” experience created by an expert barista, are different ways that enable customers to immerse themselves in design. In addition, the bookstore is open until 12 am on Fridays and Saturdays, making it a rare place in Taipei where you can enjoy a good drink and a leisurely read late into the night.
Sungood Books (桑格設計書店)
Founded in 1984, Sungood Books is perhaps the oldest design bookstore in Taipei. The bookstore is tucked away on Fuxing North Road (復興北路), right in the heart of Taipei. It focuses on books on art and design, covering a wide range of fields, including graphic design, product design, architecture, interior design, fashion, animation, and illustration. Sungood also offers an online bookstore with a well-stocked collection with fast delivery services, making it a valuable resource for design professionals and enthusiasts.
Furthermore, the bookstore’s interior became even more open and spacious after undergoing renovations a few years ago, allowing it to become a regular venue for design workshops, exhibitions, and seminars. In 2022, Sungood began curating foreign design books for translation and publication.
In addition, the store collaborates with Taiwanese designers to create book covers that bestow new interpretations of the curated books. For example, this year, Sungood collaborated with designer Chu Chunda(朱俊達) to redesign the cover of the bestselling Japanese book Future Designers: Modern Graphic Design Approaches and Attitudes (未來設計師：日本現代平面設計方法和態度). They then released a Traditional Chinese version, showcasing the works of 40 emerging Japanese graphic designers, offering readers in Taiwan insight into the latest global design trends.
Born as an online bookstore in 2016, moom bookshop ventured into the physical realm two years later, setting up its store in the alleys of Taipei’s vibrant East District. It is one of Taiwan’s few bookstores with an exclusive focus on photography. Its minimalist space makes it the perfect canvas to showcase its diverse curation.
Driven by the belief that physical books remain irreplaceable, the owner has curated a collection of European, American, Chinese, Japanese, and even African photography books, magazines, and art publications for its readers. You’ll also find a handful of Taiwanese gems on the shelves.
Acting as a bridge between local readers and international art publishers, moom bookshop brings in a treasure trove of independent publications from around the world. It’s a compact space, but the book selection is meticulously maintained to feature complete works by renowned photographers. Moom bookshop is also a hidden gem for many of Taipei’s well-known creatives who come to refuel themselves with innovative ideas and find new inspiration.
In addition to books, moom bookshop regularly hosts photography exhibitions and themed book fairs. With years of online content creation, moom tells behind-the-scenes stories that bring photography books to life and share the photographers’ tales. The content has gained popularity on social media platforms, and has fueled the creative energy of Taipei’s photography scene.
In the hearts of photography enthusiasts, this is more than just a bookstore; it’s a welcoming place where they come to expand their artistic horizons and seek inspiration.
Pon Ding (朋丁)
Founded in 2016, Pon Ding takes up an old three-story apartment complex located in the Tiaotong Commercial District on Section 1, Zhongshan North Road (中山北路一段). It is a multifunctional space that seamlessly blends books, art exhibitions, and a good brew. After years of exploring different operational approaches, Pon Ding has redefined itself as a vibrant cultural and artistic hub in Taipei.
Founders Chen Yichiu (陳依秋) and Kenyon Yeh, with their respective backgrounds in publishing and product design and their shared passion for the arts, combined with their professional capacity in planning, editing, and creative ideas, have brought the bookstore to life. Like its name, which comes from “ponding” in English, Pon Ding is a cumulation of fascinating elements and energy that reconfigure and flourish in an exciting metamorphosis.
Pon Ding is also a vibrant hub that curates independent publications, magazines, zines, and artwork from around the world. Throughout the year, the bookstore hosts numerous exhibitions and seminars that bring together a diverse range of artists, including illustrators, artisans, photographers, furniture designers, and more.
The collaborators design the projects to provide the perfect platform for visitors to engage in dialogue with the creators and explore their inspiring works. Art takes on new dimensions under Chen and Yeh’s meticulous curation and thoughtful re-edits. Via the process, Pon Ding has transcended the traditional definition of a bookstore. The founders’ roles as curators and event organizers have added to its charm.
Broadly speaking, these aesthetic bookstores have allowed art to break away from the boundaries of the traditional bookstore, and thus thrive in diverse and unexpected settings.
This article is reproduced under the permission of TAIPEI. Original content can be found on the website of Taipei Travel Net (www.travel.taipei/en).