I see that Khru Somsri is back in business – you can find her online but I will not advertise – she, assuming there really is a she as the marketing suggests, has several rooms in the subway station at Phahonyothin which I pass through on my way to the Carrefour from time to time. After some delay, she opened up her various classrooms just in time for the PM to order all after-hours schools closed owing to the swine flu outbreak. After several weeks, she is now as I say back in business, although I cannot imagine that this has been good either for her cash flow or the willingness of parents to believe their little darlings are safe outside of their constant monitoring.
Well, good luck to her – it is generally a good thing to see new businesses flourishing and, it is hoped, creating jobs for people. I also notice that a new branch of Asia Books has opened in Central Ladprao, on what I would call the second floor. It is the same space as used to be occupied by a small and I guess independent bookshop which had a very small number of English language books and rarely seemed to have many customers for the Thai books.
Asia Books is a good chain and provides English language books in a couple of dozen outlets mostly in Bangkok – although the comparatively newly opened Kinokuniya shop in Siam Paragon is better than any of those branches I have visited. Well, in the interest of supporting local business (and in no way because I am addicted to buying books and already have a large stockpile I will almost certainly never get to working my way through) I decided to pop in and have a look.
It is quite a small shop, especially for a book shop – around the same as most of the clothes shops in a regular shopping mall. The range of books is not too bad – there are the usual categories (Books on Thailand, Asian interest, food, dek stuff, general fiction and so forth) and, inevitably, some of the shelf stacking seems to have been done on a semi-random basis. However, I managed to find something interesting.
Can it survive and flourish? Over the last year or so, the B2S chains have been developing their English language books and their selection of music, in addition to all the other stock they offer. This Asia Books shop is smaller than the book space that B2S devotes to English language books in the department store a few metres away (although not that much more space).
Is there sufficient demand for another bookshop there? I’d like to think so and I’d like to think their assortments of books could become distinctive. We shall see. Now if only we could get a decent HMV or similar such as they have in Singapore …