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No workers, no worries at new smart bookstore in Guizhou

By YANG JUN in Guiyang and ZHAO YIMENG | China Daily| Updated: 2022-06-15 Print


Photo shows the front of a 24-hour smart bookstore run by Xinhua Bookstore in the Touqiao community in Guiyang, Guizhou province. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Xinhua self-service shop also serves as a 24-hour reading space for residents

Gaining access via a facial recognition system, reading for free and paying for items at the self-service checkout are among the novel experiences awaiting visitors to the first unstaffed, 24-hour smart bookstore in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province.

The store in the Touqiao community belongs to the State-owned chain Xinhua Bookstore, and in addition to selling books, it also serves as a library of sorts. Customers are encouraged to stay and read as long as they want, although they can't take anything home, unless it's purchased.

The 200-square-meter bookstore has nearly 10,000 books on a variety of topics that appeal to all ages. There's a children's activities area near the entrance, which is separated from the tranquil reading zone further inside.

Since there's no one on site, supervision and security is handled by remote monitoring and alarms.

"We keep an eye on the bookstore from a control room off-site. As soon as we detect an emergency, such as a problem with the locks, we rush to the scene to handle it," said store manager Wang Ying.

Wei Jingran, Xinhua Bookstore's operating director in Guizhou, said the new bookstore has greatly reduced labor costs.

"It also doesn't have to close, providing a continuous reading space for residents," he added.

Since the store opened on April 23, it has received hundreds of customers a day. Most are nearby residents who are attracted by its convenience and quiet atmosphere.

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