Book fair opens a new chapter for e-commerce platforms and coffee culture

Ke Jiayun
With an eco-friendly ethos, and new mascot Doudian shaped like a comma, the fair will also introduce more individual brick-and-mortar bookstores.
Ke Jiayun

The annual Shanghai Book Fair will introduce more individual brick-and-mortar bookstores and, for the first time, some e-commerce platforms, said Xu Jiong, head of the city's press and publications administration.

An area will also be allocated on the second floor of Shanghai Exhibition Center as a new "Reading+ Coffee Culture" zone for people to rest, exchange ideas and take a look at innovative cultural products.

"Readers need a more relaxing and cozy space for reading. The brick-and-mortar bookstores have already kept up to the trend and the book fair should do so as well," Xu said on Monday. The fair is scheduled to open on August 11.

The traditional brick-and-mortar stores joining the event include Toyou Books, which turns into a pub at night, Will Commune, where readers can borrow books for free, female-themed Xinchao Bookstore and detective-themed Island Bookstore.

Xu said the fair will put more emphasis on supporting and promoting the newly emerged and special bookshops, and future fairs will all have a group of different individual brick-and-mortar stores as exhibitors.

This year, e-commerce platforms like JD and Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok) will have booths and provide both online and offline services.

In public areas, new eco-friendly materials will be used in booth construction instead of previous wood and paper products. Plastic bags and packing will be replaced by more appealing recyclable book bags.

To enhance the on-site management of catering, as well as ensuring epidemic prevention and control, a food corner will be set up near Gate 9 of the exhibition center. Nearly 30 special dishes from nine popular food brands will be offered.

Exhibitors from three districts will be specially represented – 800 Show from Jing'an District, Shanghai Music Valley from Hongkou District and Sinan Mansions from Huangpu District. All 16 districts will stage their own book fair events in different areas.

The 800 Show branch will focus on a "City of Future Reading" theme to demonstrate the nature of reading in the future. Cutting-edge science and technology firms will work with digital reading providers to organize activities such as reading, life, artificial intelligence, the Internet and big data. Domestic big names in the two fields, including Huawei, electric carmaker NIO, and China Literature and Spiritual Wealth Club will show their own examples of culture in urban digital transformation.

The Shanghai Music Valley branch will mix elements like music, reading, cultural tourism and cultural innovation and show how people can enjoy reading while traveling. Sinan Mansions will encourage a blend of social life and culture.

A map of the locations of local brick-and-mortar bookstores will be available to help visitors find their favorites. The book fair also has its own mascot, Doudian, whose head is shaped like a comma.

The first award ceremony of local publisher Dookbook's science fiction writing contest, to dig out more young talented authors, will be held at the fair.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, several exhibitions about relevant publications and many new books on this theme will be displayed.

Book fair opens a new chapter for e-commerce platforms and coffee culture

Shanghai Book Fair's mascot Doudian whose head is shaped like a comma.

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