A Journey to the Bookstores in Nanjing

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Book stores reflect a city's well being. While here in Nanjing, you may find the coolest bookstores in the world. No wonder Nanjing is commonly viewed as a "city of culture". 

As one Chinese verse says, "When all flowers are striving to celebrate spring with their beauty, it's just the best time for reading." Let's explore the various bookstores in Nanjing!

① Librairie Avant-Garde

Being a calling card of the cultural Nanjing, Librairie Avant-Garde is one of the largest professional bookstores specializing in humanities and social science in Jiangsu province. Hailed as "the most beautiful bookstore in China" by CNN, Librairie Avant-Garde is the only bookstore in Asia among the top ten bookstores in the world listed by the US magazine National Geographic. Librairie Avant-garde bookstore adopts the cultural and creative brand bookstore business model with the theme of "academic, cultural salon, coffee, art gallery, film, music, creativity, life, fashion", creating a unique reading space for readers, and has become an important cultural landmark in Nanjing.

Because of its much appreciated style, Librairie Avant-Garde has expanded to more than 10 stores in Nanjing and beyond. Most of the local branches are housed in museums or historic attraction sites. Let's go exploring some special ones of them!

Librairie Avant-Garde Wutaishan Main Store

Key words: Nanjing cultural landmark, the most beautiful bookstore in China

Librairie Avant-Garde Wutaishan Main Store is remodeled from an underground garage, which endows it with a cool artistic style. Walking into the bookstore, you can see a variety of sculptures and portraits of masters in different corners. Books presented there are also the bookstore's most distinctive decorations. Well-known as 'the most internet-famous bookstore' in Nanjing, the store has become a must-visit place for literature lovers.

Photo source: Nanjing Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism

Address: Underground garage, Wutaishan Stadium, No. 173 Guangzhou Road, Gulou District, Nanjing
How to get there:

  • Metro Line 1, Zhujiang Road Station, Exit 1 (Walk to the west for about 1.2km);
  • Metro Line 2, Shanghai Road Station, Exit 2 (Walk to the north for about 1.2km);
  • Bus No. 3, 6, 91, 532 to "Suijiacang" Station.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday 10: 00-21: 00
  • Friday 10: 00-22: 00
  • Weekend 9: 30 -22:00

Tel. No.: +86 25 83711455

Librairie Avant-Garde Bookstore of Insects

Keywords: The world's first insect-themed bookstore

Located on Liang Islet of Xuanwu Lake Park, it is the world's first insect-themed bookstore with the most comprehensive collection of insect-related books in China. Walking into this insect-themed bookstore, you can hear low insect chirps. The insect-related books, cultural and creative products can be seen everywhere in this space of childishness. It is definitely a good place for parent-teen excursion.

Photo source: Librairie Avant-Garde Official Wechat

Address: Lansheng Pavilion, Liang Islet, Xuanwu Lake Park
How to get there: Metro Line 1, Xuanwumen Station, Exit 3 (Walk for about 1.6km)
Opening hours: 10: 00-20: 00, Monday to Sunday
Tel. No.: +86 25 83789670

Librairie Avant-Garde Yongfeng Poetry Bookstore (Yong Feng Shi She)

Keywords: A poetry-themed bookstore hidden in the landscape

This poetry-themed bookstore sells books mainly about poetry, occasionally holding poetry parties and lectures. Here you may find different themed spaces named after world famous poets such as Pushkin, Neruda, Borges, and Marina Tsvetayeva. When walking in these poet-themed spaces, you may feel the souls of these great poets. It's a hidden gem where you may read or buy books, take pictures, purchase cultural and creative products, drink coffee, and take some rest.

Photo source: Librairie Avant-Garde Official Wechat

Address: No. 3 Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Xuanwu District, Nanjing
How to get there: Metro Line 2/Xiamafang Station, then take the Naning City Tour Bus to Zhongshanling West Station
Opening hours: 9: 00-18: 00, Monday to Sunday
Tel. No.: +86 25 83310280

In total, Librairie Avant-Garde has 10 different themed bookstores in Nanjing. In addition to the above 3 stores, there are more for your to explore.

Bookstore Name Address Tel. No.
Librairie Avant-Garde Republic Bookstore Presidential Palace Branch Inside Xijia Mansion, Presidential Palace Scenic Area, No. 292 Changjiang Road, Nanjing +86 25 58619372
Librairie Avant-Garde History Bookstore Presidential Palace Branch Inside Presidential Palace, No. 292 Changjiang Road, Nanjing +86 25 84728172
Librairie Avant-Garde New Life Bookstore The Republic of China Zone, B2, Nanjing Museum, No. 321 Zhongshan East Road, Nanjing (near Zhongshan Gate) +86 25 84211106
Librairie Avant-Garde Yihe Bookstore No.39 Jiangsu Road, Nanjing +86 25 83325082
Librairie Avant-Garde Laoqian Studio Room 1005, Civil Defense Building, No. 189 Guangzhou Road, Gulou District, Nanjing +86 25 83326377
Librairie Avant-Garde Junhui Bookstore No.2 Bianying, Laomendong Historical and Cultural District, Qinhuai District, Nanjing +86 25 85209010
Librairie Avant-Garde Bookstore of Poetry Friendship Hall, Liang Islet, Xuanwu Lake Park, Nanjing +86 25 83789776

② Jinling Shuyuan

Founded in 2014, Jinling Shuyuan presents the "most Nanjing" features in the form of book bars, with more than 10,000 books offered for free reading. Readers can have a relaxing time here with coffee, tea and light music. Jinling Shuyuan currently has 4 chain stores, which has become another calling card of Nanjing.

Jinling Shuyuan Yuanli Shuxiang Book Bar

Keywords: An antique-style book bar housed in the ancient city wall

The book bar is located near Qinhuai Scenic Area and housed in the Wudingmen City Wall. Its design highlights the ancient city wall elements, adopting a new Chinese style, antique, and perfectly integrated with the ancient city wall of Nanjing. Yuanli Shuxiang Book Bar opens to public to for free reading with Western-style food, coffee and juice available for sale. Visitors can take a seat there reading even without ordering anything.

Photo source: Nanjing Publishing Group Official Website

Address: Entrance to the Wuding Gate (next to Jianguo Hospital), Changle Road, Qinhuai District, Nanjing
Opening hours: 10: 00-17: 30, Monday to Sunday
Telephone: +86 25 83208897

Explore more Jinling Shuyuan book bars as below.

Book Bar Name Address Tel. No.
Jinling Shuyuan · Moxiangyuan Book Bar No.53 Taipingmen Street, Xuanwu District, Nanjing +86 25 83283818
Jinling Shuyuan · Binjiang Shuyuan Book Bar 2F, Jinling Library, Jian'ye District, Nanjing +86 25 83283818
Jinling Shuyuan · Yingzhou Book Bar Yingyuan, No. 1 Ying Islet, Xuanwu Lake Park, Xuanwu District, Nanjing NA

③ Dazhong Bookstore (Da Zhong Shu Ju)

Keywords: A popular bookstore in downtown Nanjing

Dazhong Bookstore is one of the most popular bookstores in Nanjing, which is known for the concept of 'urban study room'. All its branch stores are featured with celebrity message walls, picture collections of the most beautiful bookstores, art shops and coffee bars, cultural and creative products and so on. Comfortable reading stools and warm lights make it a very relaxing reading space there. There is also a coffee bar available in each store, where you can enjoy reading in the mellow aroma of coffee. Dazhong Bookstore owns many branches in Nanjing, and most are located in Nanjing CBD areas. When hanging out with friends in downtown Nanjing, Dazhong Bookstore is a good place for a break of coffee and reading for a while.

Photo source: Dazhong Bookstore Official Wechat

Explore the branches of Dazhong Bookstore in Nanjing as below.

Branch Name Address Tel. No.
Nanjing Book Mall Branch 1-3F, Sinopharm Building, No. 6 Hanzhong Road, Gulou District, Nanjing +86 25 86982999
Nanjing Shuiyoucheng Branch 4F, Pengxin Aqua City, No. 1 Jiankang Road, Qinhuai District, Nanjing +86 25 82233180
Nanjing Hongyang Branch 3F, Hall B2, Future World, Hongyang Plaza, No. 48 Daqiao North Road, Pukou District, Nanjing +86 25 58373801
Nanjing Hexi Suning Tesco Branch B1, Suning Tesco Plaza, No. 98 Jiangdong Middle Road, Jianye District, Nanjing +86 25 83204606
Nanjing Dongchenghui Branch F1, Dongchenghui, No. 8 Wenyuan Road, Xianlin University Town, Qixia District, Nanjing +86 25 85506416
Nanjing Garden City Branch 1F, Garden City, No. 699 Zhongshanmen Street, Qixia District, Nanjing +86 25 83111464
Nanjing Garden City Yanziji Branch No.1 Yancheng Avenue, Qixia District, Nanjing (Intersection of Qixia Avenue and Yancheng Avenue) +86 25 82263557
Nanjing Jingfeng Branch 3F, Jingfeng Center, No. 1698 Shuanglong Avenue, Jiangning District, Nanjing +86 25 86155815
Nanjing Sun City Branch Area A, 3F, 21st Century Sun City, No. 1706 Shuanglong Avenue, Jiangning District, Nanjing +86 25 86190080
ABS HOME Nanjing New City Plaza Branch 2F, New City Plaza, No. 99, Caochangmen Street, Gulou District, Nanjing +86 25 57089081

④ Wanxiang Bookstore (Wan Xiang Shu Fang)

Keywords: An exquisite library neighboring Nanjing University

Located in a small alley near Nanjing University, this bookstore is like a fine library. The ground glass windows let in the full light in, making the indoor space very bright. Wanxiang bookstore mainly sells humanity related books, offers tea, coffee and casual dining, and often hosts reading and academic events.

Photo source: Nanjing Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism

Address: No. 8 Jinyin Street, Gulou District, Nanjing
How to get there: Metro Line 4, Yunnan Road Station, Exit 3 (Walk to the southeast for about 300m)
Opening hours: 10: 00-23: 00, Monday to Sunday
Tel. No.: +86 25 83204546

⑤ Nanjing Xiao Public Library (Nanjing Xiao Shu Guan)

Keywords: A free public library under the Ming City Wall

Nanjing Xiao Public Library is a public library initiated by Mr. Gao Xiaosong, a famous Chinese musician and writer, who is also the dean of the library. It has more than 40,000 volume books, mainly about literature, history and philosophy which are all free to read on the spot.

Photo source: Nanjing Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism

Address: Building 16, Yuedong Xinmen West, No. 52 Fengyou Temple, Qinhuai District, Nanjing
How to get there: Metro Line 1, Sanshanjie Station, Exit 4 (Walk for about 1.9km)
Opening hours:

  • Sunday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: 9: 00-20: 00;
  • Friday/Saturday: 9: 00-22: 00;
  • Closed every Monday

Tel. No.: +86 25 82263539
Remark: Reservation required

⑥ Singularity Bookshop (QI DIAN SHU JI)

Keywords: A diversified cultural and artistic space

Singularity Bookshop (QI DIAN SHU JI) is a cultural and artistic space that integrates the elements of bookstore, art gallery, aesthetic life hall, cafe, designer clothing and buyer's shop. It is divided into two floors. There are clothing stores, the children area and the snack area on the first floor. Bookstore and café are on the second floor.

Photo source: Nanjing Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism

Address: 2F-3F, Xihe Plaza, No. 286 Zhongshan Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing
How to get there: Metro Line 1, Zhujiang Road Station, Exit 3 (Walk to the north for about 450m)
Opening hours: 10: 00-22: 00, Monday to Sunday
Telephone: +86 25 84519999

⑦ Phoenix Cloud Bookstore (Fenghuang Yun Shu Fang)

Keywords: A 7X24-hour bookstore

Phoenix Cloud Bookstore (Fenghuang Yun Shu Fang) is a 7x24-hour bookstore that integrates book retailing, arts and crafts, art exhibitions, celebrity lectures and coffee bars. Besides reading, readers can participate in the reading salon activity which is held from time to time; enjoy the award-winning artworks exhibited here, experience baking, tea and other manual courses.

Photo source: Phoenix Cloud Bookstore Official Wechat

Address: 2F, Block C, Phoenix Plaza, 1 Hunan Road, Gulou District, Nanjing
How to get there: Metro Line 1, Xuanwumen Station (Walk for about 140m)
Opening hours: 7x24 hours Open
Tel. No.: +86 25 83657115

⑧ Ru Si Book Bar (Ru Si Shu Ba)

Keywords: A bookstore surrounded by arts

Located in Nanjing Jin'ao Aesthetic Life Museum, and close to art institutions such as Poly Theater and Jiangsu Grand Theatre, Ru Si Book Bar enjoys an advantaged location with strong artistic atmosphere, where lies the Sky Museum, Scent Museum, and Oil Painting Experience Center. Ru Si Book Bar offers Café and reading area, too. People can sit by the window to enjoy the street view, especially the bustling night view of Hexi New Town. More experiential activities can be explored here such as movies, handicrafts, weaving related courses. Boutique courses of Cantonese, Guqin and writing are also available here.

Photo source: Ri Si Book Bar Official Wechat

Address: 4F, Jin'ao Aesthetic Life Museum, No. 329 Jiangdong Middle Road, Jian'ye District
How to get there:

  • Metro Line 2,Yuantong Station, walk for about 750m
  • Tramcard Line 1, Fuchunjiang West Street Station, walk for about 320m

Opening hours: 10: 00-21: 00
Tel. No.: +86 25 58810282

⑨ Wine Bookstore (Huan Jiu Shu Dian)

Keywords: A special bookstore that can trade books for beer

This is a bookstore hidden in the alleys of the city. Most of the books on the first floor are about Nanjing, culture, figures and wine, while the second floor contains old books, stationery, tapes, cultural and creative products, snacks and various wines. Interestingly, wines can be exchanged here with books. 5 old books can be exchanged for 1 can of local bear.

Photo source: Wine Bookstore Official Wechat

Address: No. 81 Jianzi Lane, Qinhuai District, Nanjing
How to get there: Metro Line 3, Wudingmen Station, Exit 2 (Walk to the west for about 500m)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 12: 30-21: 30, weekends 10: 00-22: 00
Tel. No.: +86 13270709359

⑩ A Tiny but Special Bookstore (Yi Jian Hen Xiao De Shu Dian)

Keywords: A 24-hour self-service bookstore looked after by cats

As the name suggests, this is a really small bookstore but very special. Located close to Qinhua River in Laomendong, it is a 24-hour self-service bookstore, and the owner only leaves WeChat and mobile number next to the window for contact and payment collection. Usually, the "boss" of the bookstore is 3 stray cats adopted by the store owner. Rather than a bookstore, it is more like a public reading space. You may read any of the unpacked books and second-hand books available there freely. Just one kind reminder: Visitors can play with the cats, but please don't feed them.

Photo source: A Tiny but Special Bookstore Official Weibo

Address: No. 20 Fufu Street, Qinhuai District, Nanjing
How to get there: Metro Line 3, Wudingmen Station, Exit 2 (Walk to the west for about 1km)
Opening hours: 24-hour open
Tel. No.: +86 15312095333

Closing: "It's never too late to read, an inch of gold cannot buy an inch of time." In this special springtime, let's travel in the world of books and kick off an intellectual and spiritual journey.