At some point, K書中心 were so prevalent, you could see them peppered in between all the buxibans. Walk around the streets around Nanyang St in Taipei between Shinkuang Mitsukoshi and 228 Park and look up – you should still see squares with a letter K inside. Those are K書.
I didn’t understand them at first - why would you pay real money so you could study in a place that was pretty much set up like your workspace at home? Then, when I was applying for grad school, procrastinating like crazy on my applications, it struck me. Instead of wasting time at home doing everything EXCEPT my applications, I would be more inclined to work in a space where I didn’t have to think about all those distractions, and I was really there specifically to focus on priority 1.
I always thought it was because in the typical Taiwanese household there is not even a large table for supper -most people I know eat on the sofa and put the food on the coffee table-, let alone a proper desk wher you can calmly sit and think and study.
I remember when I had college students as housemates, they did have a desk all right: one of those DIY flimsy contraptions where you put the computer -desktops as laptops were too expensive many ages ago. It would also hold disks -those were the days- makeup, hair products and accessories, assorted dirty and clean laundry, magazines, newspapers, etc. And a huge printer next to it, difficult to see under another pile of laundry, stuffs, etc. I always wondered where their textbooks were. BTW, I hardly ever saw them use the computer for college work. Mostly, they would play games.
Cue me as a college student. How annoying it was to go to the library to do research, study, etc. and find pile after pile of young human zombies in deep sleep… Why wouldn’t they sleep at the dorms? Because of the noise, mess, etc.