“The research states that 94.9 percent of students read more than one book in 2015,” said Park Wi-jin, director general for cultural infrastructure policy at the Culture Ministry. “But only 65.3 percent of adults read more than one book last year, which is a figure that’s substantially low when comparing only adults in other OECD countries. It’s a problem as the percentage of adults reading books has been decreasing over the years, not to mention dropping rates of adults purchasing books as well as visiting libraries.”
Perhaps a recent revival of book cafes and the emergence of trendy book bars where visitors can read and purchase books while drinking coffee, tea or even alcohol, will help reverse the trend.
Book cafes are not a new concept. In 2008, the franchise coffee shop Caffe Bene opened branches one after another across the country, promoting itself as the country’s first trendy book cafe, although it has since lost the focus on books.
The ones that have begun to emerge on the market recently are quite different from the old book cafes. If previous book cafes were coffee shops furnished with dozens of best-selling books for customers to read over a cup of coffee, book cafes today, according to insiders, are more of a space where book-lovers can come to not only to read specially selected books over drinks, but also meet people, hold book club meetings and so on.
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