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Saigon café allows customers to pay for drinks with books

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 16:23 GMT+7
Saigon café allows customers to pay for drinks with books
Two passers-by pick books from the free book shelf in the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Customers are entitled to a drink of their choice for every book they donate to this peculiar book coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City.

This promotion runs every Sunday at this little haven for book lovers on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in District 1. 

The bookstore, which doubles as a café, offers 15,000 book titles filling aisles of shelves, with spaces reserved for readers to fully emerge in its subtle tranquility.

The store is the brainchild of Le Ba Tan, a bibliophile who aspires to connect fellow youths through books. 

“I want people to come by not only for a drink but also for a good read,” he said.

“People can bring books of every kind, even novels or textbooks and get a free drink in return.”

His vision gradually came to life, as the venue became a favorite gathering spot for book lovers of the city.

Nhu Phuong, 27, said she discovered the shop after randomly passing by it.

She became familiar with the place and went on to bring her friends for the book exchange and to unwind after a strenuous work week.

On Sunday, the coffee shop has even more to offer: a book giveaway event, where everyone is invited to pick a book of their own free of charge and is encouraged to bring books for exchange, spreading the passion for knowledge.

Tran Van Luyen, 78, indulges in a selection of books at the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Tran Van Luyen, 78, indulges in a selection of books at the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Phan and friends spend their weekend reading at the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Phan and friends spend their weekend reading at the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nhu Phuong, a regular visitor, reads in front of a large bookshelf in this bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nhu Phuong, a regular visitor, reads in front of a large bookshelf in this bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Readers crowd in the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Readers crowd in the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Le Ba Tan (left), owner of the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, talks to visitors. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Le Ba Tan (left), owner of the bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, talks to visitors. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Le Ba Tan (right) accepts books from a visitor in return for a beverage he offered at a bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Le Ba Tan (right) accepts books from a visitor in return for a beverage he offered at a bookstore-café on Nguyen Khac Nhu Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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