State and Party Back China's Bricks-and-Mortar Booksellers
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
State and Party Back China's Bricks-and-Mortar Booksellers

(Yicai Global) July 12 -- Bricks-and-mortar bookstores recently got a shot in the arm from the Chinese government after years of retreat in a seemingly losing battle with online booksellers.

The country's media watchdog, Communist Party propaganda department and other regulatory agencies jointly issued a document on June 16 for the support and promotion of physical bookshops.

A few years ago, high street bookshops were closing down in the face of the rapid emergence and expansion of online vendors like Amazon Inc. [NASDAQ:AMZN] and e-readers such as Kindle. Last year, online book sales jumped 33 percent compared with just a 0.3 percent gain for high street vendors. But real bookstores are making a bit of a comeback though, with Amazon even getting into the game.

Bookstores that can diversify their marketing and provide a good reading experience to customers with good taste, are expected to survive, Mr. Zhao Xiaoma, executive director of China Insights Consultancy, told Yicai Global. Generic outlets that lack quality and a positive consumer experience will gradually wither away, he said.

Last week, Shandong Kigo Media Co. became the first Chinese owner of physical bookstores to list, joining the New Third Board, and Taiwan-based Eslite Bookstore, Asia's best according to Time magazine, will open its latest outlet in Shanghai Tower, China's tallest building.

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