Watching a driver wrangling a newspaper on a morning commute makes it clear that reading and operating a vehicle are a lousy combination, but Ann Arbor’s first scooter store and its sister business, the area’s first Taiwanese bookstore, make an intriguing, if not entirely related, twofer.

Eric Huang, fifty-two, opened the Detroit Scooter Salon on Washtenaw just west of Golfside last year. A subsidiary of Allen Park’s auto parts “mall,” the Detroit International Auto Salon (sometimes the people who answer the phone here use that name instead), the store features electric scooters and motor-assisted bicycles and is intended to tap into Ann Arbor’s reputation for “early adopters” (i.e., U-M and EMU students) and give the increasingly congested community an alternative to cars.

The scooters, none of which require a license to operate, start at around $2,500, and you can fill the tank and drive it for a month before you have to refuel–a huge bonus now that gas prices are on the rise again. Eric and his younger brother, Tony Huang, who is vice-president of marketing, also carry electric scooters, including the four-wheeled “mobility” versions popular with seniors. “More clean, more green,” Eric says.

The Huangs import the scooters from Asia but within the next three years they hope to be producing their own domestically made scooters in both gas and electric versions. The first model, yet to be built, already has a name: the Detroit Scooter.

With space left over at the back of the shop, the brothers decided to open a bookstore. Eric says he wanted a place where members of the local Chinese community could buy books and magazines in their native tongue. Like many of his fellow Taiwanese (he and his brother moved to the states in 2007), Eric considers himself Chinese, but he called it the Taiwanese Bookstore and not the Chinese Bookstore because he didn’t want to confuse people about the kinds of books and magazines he carries. He says 95 percent of his customers are Chinese and about 5 percent are American students studying the language.

All of them, he hopes, might check out a scooter after browsing the books.

Detroit Scooter Salon, 4949 Washtenaw, 961-8824. Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sat. and Sun. Taiwanese Bookstore, Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.