Duzhe, or Readers, a semimonthly Chinese-language magazine, was founded 37 years ago. Duzhe Publishing and Media Corporation opened Duzhe Bookstore, the corporation's first bookstore complex under its brand, along the Bund, in Shanghai, earlier this year. The interior design and facilities of Duzhe Bookstore reflect the magazine's history and cultural charm, both of which have attracted many readers.
Bookstore complex, a new type of bookstore that provides a "bookstore plus catering, cultural products, exhibitions, art and entertainment" services, is becoming popular in China. Mostly located in shopping areas, such bookstores are popular with consumers, particularly women.
Duzhe Bookstore, which encompasses 550 square meters, attracts many young and middle-aged readers, especially those who are regular readers of the magazine. A specially designed "bridge," on which Readers' editions from various years are displayed, is on the second floor. While looking at those editions, people can recall the magazine's history. Messages, written by 100 selected readers of the magazine, are displayed in the bookstore. Customers can rest and take photos in the bookstore's reading zone. Cultural products, which highlight Shanghai's history, culture and art, are sold in the bookstore.
According to a report on Fudan Weekly (Fudan University's new-media platform), a survey released by the book industry chamber of commerce, under the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, shows that nearly 50 percent of privately run bookstores in China have closed during the past 10 years. Generally speaking, online bookstores sell books at lower prices. By purchasing books online, consumers save the time of going to a physical bookstore. Also, people nowadays tend to use digital readers and more-convenient platforms, such as on the Internet, to obtain information.
In Fudan Weekly's report, Page One's branch bookstore in Shanghai's famous shopping complex HKRI Taikoo Hui, is a good example of a physical bookstore that has expanded services to attract customers. The bookstore has several zones: Chinese- and English-books zone, designs zone, children's zone and gifts zone. A large part of the bookstore's profits is the income earned through selling gifts.
Zhongshuge Bookstore, also in Shanghai, is in a shopping mall near Jing'an Temple, on West Nanjing Road. The bookstore, which has a creative interior design, attracts customers to the shopping mall, so they can visit the bookstore. "Locating our bookstore in the shopping mall is a win-win between our bookstore and the shopping mall," says Jia Anming, general manager of Zhongshuge's sales chain department.
Momicafe, a bookstore in Changying Paradise Walk, a shopping complex in eastern Beijing's Tongzhou District, attracts mainly women customers. The bookstore's target consumers are white-collar workers between 18 and 35, especially women. The bookstore's manager is responsible for selecting books to be displayed and sold at Momicafe. The manager usually communicates with publishing houses and professional book-selection teams.
Given people's ever-growing need to live rich spiritual lives, bookstores, cafés, cinemas and entertainment facilities are becoming increasingly popular in shopping complexes.
Su Nan is manager of Wormhole Bookstore, in Gulangyu, a hot tourist spot in Xiamen, in Southeast China's Fujian Province. She hopes her bookstore will help tourists relax and enjoy the slow-paced lifestyle in Xiamen.
Almost every day, after she arrives at the bookstore, Su checks recent sales data and the arrangement of books. In the courtyard, there is a tower made with 500 copper pieces. On the top of the tower is a metal sapodilla, which symbolizes Gulangyu's openness and hospitality to visitors, from home and abroad. Su and her colleagues display books that introduce Gulangyu's history and culture. They also sell various other items, including book marks, seals and mugs.
On July 8 this year, Su organized a readers' gathering to celebrate the bookstore's second anniversary. As the manager, and a reader, Su enjoys very much the time when she sits quietly in a corner of the bookstore to read or make plans to improve services provided by her bookstore.
(Source: Women of China English Monthly October 2018 issue)
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