The Dunhua Eslite branch is to shut up shop at the end of this month. During a news conference held on the afternoon of April 23, Mercy Wu, chairwoman of Eslite Spectrum Corp, spoke candidly about the bookstore founded by her father Robert Wu, and about how it stirred up emotions inside her still. She also spoke of her decision, made in this very store, not to study overseas, and instead to stay in Taiwan to run the store with her father. When speaking about the special place the bookstore had in her heart, she compared it to the rose in the Little Prince.
On the difficulties of running a bookstore, in addition to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Wu acknowledged that many bookstores had been hit with a 40 percent drop in business, but that this had not dented her resolve to keep a store open 24 hours. For Wu, 24-hour opening was a promise that the bookstore had made to the area, and the Xinyi branch would remain open for 24 hours, even if it was not actually making money. She added that this would not change, whatever happens.
Also, Wu said that the Dunhua S. Rd bookstore, apart from being the store her father had run, was also the store that she found, when she was a girl, that teachers would go to buy books, and she remembered this filling her with pride. She also remembered being more than a little shocked when she later discovered that she still had to pay for the books she wanted to buy, even if her own father owned the store.
Photo: Chang Hui-wen, Liberty Times照片：自由時報記者張慧雯
She also said that, after she graduated, she had originally planned to study overseas, and that her father had agreed, even encouraging her to travel around after she had completed her studies to get a bit of experience and expand her horizons. When the two of them were reading books and having a coffee in the store one day, she suddenly asked her father about how the store was doing, and how he felt about her joining him in running it. This set her on a different path, and she joined Eslite, setting father and daughter on the road to running the company as a team.
Wu said that the Dunhua S. Rd Eslite branch had too many memories of her father and, to her, just like the Little Prince and the rose, they had planted and nurtured it themselves, and even listened to it boast of its own beauty. As far as the Little Prince was concerned, the rose was something utterly unique, and completely irreplaceable. In the same way, the Dunhua S. Rd branch was unique, and had a place in her heart that could never be occupied by any other bookstore.
(Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
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