Nearly 70 percent of Chinese adults read on a digital platform, according to a survey by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publications. Not surprisingly, traditional bookstores are declining.
But as CGTN’s Hu Chao reports, help is emerging from an unexpected source.
Owner Lu Hongren raised two million yuan – about $300,000 – in crowd-funding from over 100 people through WeChat. Crowdfunding, Lu says, is not just about raising money.
“Crowdfunding has helped me get to know lots of people in the cultural circle, which is important to my bookstore.”
Lu’s bookstore covers 1,200 square meters and has over 20,000 volumes. Coffee, desserts and various cultural activities are all available, because Lu believes that a greater sense of culture and diversity will ultimately bring in more customers.
The monthly turnover is up to 400,000 yuan, half of which is from book sales. Lu’s sales strategy is offering discounts.
“In order to compete with online bookstores, we are offering the same discounts as Dangdang.com or Jingdong.com, which are about 30 percent off on average.”
His shop is just one of many that are rising in China. While some cultural experts argue that bookstores shouldn’t be too commercialized, some say commercialization is an effective way to promote a reading culture.
“I think the commercialization and diversity of running a physical bookstore will ultimately promote the development of bookstores, engaging more people in reading books,” according to Ji Junhu, vice president of the Shanxi Writers Association. “It will definitely help to increase the cultural sense of society.”