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Novel ideas

The length of the country, independent bookstores have been struggling to compete with chain stores. Life talks to industry professionals who reveal they still have a few tricks up their sleeve to make stand-alone shops uniquely rewarding

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Nigeria’s Port Harcourt has now taken the Unesco-bestowed title of World Book Capital after Bangkok completed its term last month. It had been a year that books and reading culture were supposed to receive a big boost. The campaign, however, has been met with criticism as it seemed to focus more on the surface topics rather than something more fundamental, like promoting a love of reading among Thais. 

Candide Books.

Likewise, to consider the typically overwhelming amount of people going to a book fair, which takes place twice a year in Bangkok, is perhaps a little misleading as to what the reading culture and bookselling business in Thailand really is. While various chain bookstores seem to be thriving — with magazines and self-help books on the best-seller shelves — independent bookstores, which can be another indicator of the health of the industry, have been struggling to survive, from those in Bangkok to Chiang Mai to Pattani.

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