Taipei, Taiwan is packed full of coffee shops and it is my favourite thing to do to just spend a lazy afternoon in a coffee shop with a book - and EP Books (益品書屋) encompasses both those things.

Upon a recommendation from a friend, on a day where the typhoon had skimmed through Taipei and I had planned to stay indoors all day, I managed to drag myself from my comfy cove I had burrowed into for the day and decided to venture out to check out this slightly more unique coffee shop.

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EP books is a mixture between a library and a cafe; you pay an entrance fee of NTD$200 (around £4) which gives you free access to all the books in the shop and unlimited drinks! This screams value for money if you ask me. There is also no time limit to your stay, so you really can spend all day there if you wanted to.

There is coffee, a range of teas & iced slush white gourd tea (it tastes better than it sounds, trust me) available for you to help yourself to, and seeing as all the drinks are unlimited there's nothing stopping you from trying out every drink.

There are hundreds of books available, mostly in Chinese but there are a good selection of English books too.

The shop itself has a very clean, modern minimalist feel to it, with simplistic decor allowing all the attention to be on the books that line the walls from floor to ceiling. You can also always judge the standard of a place by how nice its toilets are - verdict? respectable.

 

_DSC5039Once you find a seat, whether its a comfy sofa chair or a stool on a well-lit desk, you can happily sit there and choose different books to read for a good few hours. One book I particularly took to was Curiosa, a book about artist Barton lidice benes, whose art was the collection of 'celebrity relics, Historical fossils & other metamorphic rubbish' (book written by John Berendt).

So what's the catch? truthfully, unlimited books & drinks is too good to be true. The slight drawback to this place is that the books are not novels or on The Time's best sellers list, they are mainly coffee table books; such as informational books (I did spot some encyclopaedias...), travel books, art & design illustrations etc. This ensures you cannot literally spend all day in there. Also, if you are a coffee connoisseur, the drinks may also not be for you; It is coffee machine coffee, simple tea bags and there is just one flavour to the slushy drink.

As I am writing this, I realised the sneakier penny-pinchers out there could potentially bring their own novels with them to read, and just pay the NTD$200 entrance fee as costs for the drinks & the atmosphere (making your money back by taking advantage of the unlimited nature of the drinks).

 

Personally, despite its faults, I felt this was a perfect place for a rainy day; its relaxing, unique and most importantly well air-conditioned!

 

Address: No. 69, Section 2, Ren'ai Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

Directions: Exit 6 from Zhonxiao Xinsheng MRT station, down Section 1 Xinshend S Rd past Taipei Wesley Methodist Church then take a right onto Section 2 Ren'ai Rd.

Published by Erin Chu