Away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, next to a silent street of Bhaktapur, lies a café designed for readers, a cozy space to sit with a book over coffee.
Reader’s Hub Café and Bakery, as its name goes, is a haven for readers looking to get close to a natural ambiance – it affords a beautiful view of mountains right out the window.
Comfortable little sofa seats and a variety of books on the shelves next to them invite visitors to sit and read.
The stated motto of the café is to spread the reading culture throughout the nation. The café had a humble beginning a year ago and has come a long way since.
“We used to sell online books. The economic blockade of 2015 forced us to shut down. Our expenses were going just too high,” Anup Acharya, the owner of the Reader’s Hub told NepalMinute.
With his wife Bandana Aryal, Anup dreamt of building a small garden where people could come to read books while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
“Our dream of a garden to just sit and read books led us to opening the Reader’s Hub Café and Bakery that you see today,” Acharya said. “Gardens and books, as such, are not possible everywhere.”
Planning and starting a business from scratch was not easy. It took a year and a half for the couple to get the Reader’s Hub up and going. Now the place is doing well -- as students come to the café to do their work or just a bunch of other people come to enjoy their time alone, in the company of a book and a cup of coffee.
“When we decided to open Reader’s Hub, many warned us the café would not take off even in this serene location in Bhaktapur,” Acharya told Nepalminute. “But we took the risk.”
The risk was big -- in this era of modern technology, few young people have the habit of picking up a book and reading it in its physical form, lost in the pages with a finger in the wait to turn them.
Available books range from Nepali to English titles, also the course books for different ages.
“We aren’t limiting this idea to only a few areas,” Acharya said. “We want to open the Reader’s Hub in each and every street of the Kathmandu Valley.”
“If it’s possible for a fast-food chain to be located in all blocks and streets, only a few kilometers away from each other, then it’s possible for the Reader’s Hub to have a chain as well, we’re trying to regenerate in people the habit of reading.”
The books in demand at the café are not just the fictions. Frequent requests from students and their parents led to the café to making course books available for students wanting to sit and study here, he said.
People can buy books in the café. Its owners are also planning to start a book borrowing system soon, like it happens in a library.
Reader’s Hub also holds book talks and musical performances in the evenings and even magic shows for their customers on occasions.
With the success of branches in Kaushaltar and Dhapasi of Kathmandu, the Reader’s Hub Café and Bakery is set to launch another branch in Hattiban, Lalitpur, on its anniversary on July 20, Wednesday.
“On the Reader’s Hub anniversary day, we are offering up to 25 per cent in discount on the books for the whole day here, and for the whole week in the new branch.”