Shanghai Book Fair hears of sales boost

Ma Lixia
Retail sales in China reached 2.3 billion yuan in the first half of the year as more physical bookstores opened and reference books for students saw a surge.
Ma Lixia

Book sales reached 2.3 billion yuan (US$327 million) in China in the first half of this year, an increase of almost 5 percent from the same period last year, according to a report given on Thursday at the China Physical Bookstore Innovation and Development Conference as part of Shanghai Book Fair.

The report, from data systems provider Centrin Cloud, showed a surge in reference books for students while sales of literature and children's books declined. 

Fewer new books were published during the period compared with last year, with the total 57,147, down by almost 15 percent.

More than 98 percent of retail sales were at smaller bookstores. Large bookshops only contributed to 1.43 percent of retail sales.

Since sales at individual stores saw little change, the increase was attributed to the opening of more and more small bookstores.

In Shanghai, 10 new bookstores have opened so far this year. 

Branded bookstore chains are setting more outlets in Shanghai, while more campus bookstores are being opened at local universities.

The city now has 31 campus bookstores at universities and aims to double that number by 2021.

China Publishing Bookstore, the city's newest bookstore which opened on Wednesday, is also one of the venues for the 2019 Shanghai Book Fair.

"We hope to explore a new way of cultural services in all dimensions," said manager Li Siyu. "You can read, you can relax, and you can enjoy your own time as long as you come here. This kind of joy cannot be provided by traditional bookstores where you just buy a book and go away.”

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