'People who really love books will come': Man gets ridiculed for building bookstore atop mountain in China

Book lovers, would you climb a mountain just to get your hands on your favourite novel?

This man seems to think so. 

Over the past three years, 57-year-old self-styled poet, Jiang Libo has spent 800,000 yuan (S$153,000) to build Millstone Bookstore, which houses a collection of 7,000 mostly literary books, reported the South China Morning Post. 

The two-storey bookstore is located atop a mountain in Zhejiang, China, and is built in the shape of the number seven. 

Jiang said he hopes Millstone Bookstore can provide the local villagers, especially children, with greater access to books.

“Before my bookshop was built, the closest bookshop or library to this village was in a town about 30 km away,” Jiang said.

“I found fewer and fewer people read books, and bookstores generally are struggling. However, I thought of a different approach — to open a bookstore in a place with very few readers,” he said. 

“My thought is: when villagers are idle, or kids are on holiday, they can come to read books. Isn’t that wonderful?” 

He did not think the unusual location of his bookstore was a problem for potential visitors. “People who really love books will come no matter where the bookstore is,” he said.

Ridiculous or not?

Jiang might have poured his heart into building the bookstore, but some netizens viewed his endeavour as a waste of time and money.

One netizen criticised Jiang for being too much of an “idealist”.

“Rural society is more realistic and requires down-to-earth work and labour,” he said. “How much ‘knowledge’ can you possibly bring to them?” the netizen questioned.


Said another: “I don’t think spending 800,000 yuan on a mountaintop bookstore is necessary. It’s better to use this money to fund the education of kids from poor families. I am not saying it is a bad idea to open a bookshop there, but it is really not cost-effective.”

Others teased Jiang for squandering his wealth and doubted he’d be able to earn enough to survive.

Another netizen said the first thing Jiang should have first thought about was the sustainability of his business model, and wondered if the building was going to be Jiang’s private villa once the business venture failed.


Despite the naysayers, some were impressed with Jiang’s creativity.

“How restful it is to read books on top of a mountain!” one netizen remarked.

“I admire his persistence in opening a dream store for the village folks,” another person commented.


Chinese man builds $1.1 million kindergarten for son

Similarly in April, one father in China spent $1.1m building a kindergarten for his son, which sparked online debate.

The father, surnamed Li, from Jiangsu, China, shared that he spent six million yuan (S$1.15 million) on his private kindergarten which featured a tube slide instead of a staircase, complete with colourful toilets and a garden with fruit trees. 

Li told Star Video then: “I wanted to create a satisfying kindergarten environment for my son”.

After Li’s story went viral online, netizens had conflicting opinions on his parenting style, with some praising him while others thought it was poor parenting and that he was too indulgent. 

ALSO READ: Retirees open bookstore at Old Airport Road hawker centre to reach out to ‘ordinary folks’


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