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Chinese readers flock back to bookstores

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A Chinese man reads a book as another walks between shelves at the 'Utopia' bookshop in central Beijing in this March 25, 2009 file picture. REUTERS/David Gray

BEIJING (Xinhua) – Chinese readers, many of whom had switched to e-reading devices and online bookstores, are now flocking back to traditional stores as they are offering a wider range of new products, the China Daily reported Monday.

The Bookdao New Publishing Institute, a consultancy to the country’s publishing and book selling industry, surveyed 62 chains and found that some 65 percent plan to open more than five new stores this year, and 18 percent of them will open over 100.

There were 225,000 bookstores and sales outlets in the country by the end of last year, up by 4.3 percent over 2017. Total sales of publications in the domestic retail sector reached 158 billion yuan (about $23.3 billion), a year-on-year growth of 11.3 percent, the report said.

Dan Jie, who founded the popular Yanjiyou bookstore chain in 2013, was quoted as saying all his stores attach great importance to an elegant atmosphere and unique outlook. They also include coffee shops, art galleries, and sections selling cultural products.

Some bookstores like Sisyphe have also used big data technology to ensure the books in every store match the tastes of consumers in a specific business district.

Industry insiders said the revitalisation of bookstores is largely due to favourable policies that have been unveiled in recent years. The upgrading of cultural consumption has also helped the bookstore industry as consumers are now demanding more quality content and lifestyles.

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