Hello Erasmus group!
Do you like and do you read mangas? If you like this kind of reading, there’s a place in Paris where you have to go!
The Manga Café is a library and a bookshop specialized in Mangas. It was opened in July 2006 in Paris and it was the opening of the first “manga cafe” (or “manga kissa” in Japanese) in Europe. The Manga Café V2 has opened more recently, in 2010 in Paris. The first one was too small for the number of visitors. The second one is bigger with 300 m² of space.
The Manga café is not a simple library but an original place which has all the characteristics of a third place! Indeed it’s the perfect place to relax and entertain yourself.
Of course you can read but you can also drink and eat! Indeed, hot and cold drinks are freely accessible and unlimited. At lunch, in the Manga Café V2 it’s possible to eat Japanese food thanks to the Japanese cook who is in the place early in the morning to prepare good meals. There is also a wifi access and available computer to go on the internet. Finally, a room is dedicated to videogames with several playstations and manga games.
The Manga Café proposes a lot of different services. First of all, it’s a perfect place to read mangas. The library specialized in manga is the biggest and the most complete in France with more than 10,000 books. All the series translated into French and all the new titles are present from their release. For people who are fond of manga, it’s a good thing because manga are really expensive. In the manga Café, they can read all the mangas they want for only 4 € per hour. Mangas can’t be borrowed, but if the visitor really wants a manga, he can buy it at the bookshop space, with other things like games, toys…always from the manga world.
Moreover, the Manga Café is really comfortable. There are a lot of armchairs and sofas around coffee tables. You can speak with your friends, while drinking a coke. If you want to read quietly, there are little individual boxes with really soft cushions or you can easily find a quiet space.
We could guess that a third place like that is a really noisy space… It’s not the case! People are very respectful and quiet! We can find a really large public in the Manga Café. During the week-end and holidays, children and teenagers are in the place. But during the week, there are also a lot of adults. Most of this public comes to read mangas. Often, they take a little time to play videogames. But there’s only a minority of users who come especially for the playstation. Moreover, there’s a special closed place for videogames, not to disturb readers. Sometimes people come with friends and they talk, but most of the time they are respectful and they speak in a low voice.
The Manga Café has no competition. It seems strange because the concept is really good and successful. In fact, a lot of third places like that opened, but they were forced to close rapidly. Financially, it’s difficult to survive because everyone pays only 4 € per hour and they can drink all the sodas they want. Moreover, it’s necessary to buy new titles, to repair the drinks machine and the playstation when they are broken… and this has a cost.
I discovered this library a few months ago, and I was enchanted. It’s a really available and friendly place. The manager is very nice and answered my questions patiently. I’m just wondering if this kind of library would be so successful for another universe than the world of manga which is a really particular community. Nevertheless, I think it could be the same success for comic-strips.
What do you think, Erasmus group? Do you enjoy this kind of library? Do you know some places like this one in your country?
Thank you for your comments!
Pascaline, Maxime and Julie
Second year students in Booktrading, University Paris Descartes.