Home 5 Articles and Reports 5 Beijing Moves to Protect its Bookshops

Beijing Moves to Protect its Bookshops

by | Jul 26, 2018 | Articles and Reports

Nasher

 

China is acting to protect Beijing’s physical bookshops.  The authorities are providing subsidies worth almost £5.7m to help pay for at least 40% of rents and improvements to bookshops.  The plan is to encourage more than 700 bookshops to open across the greater Beijing region, bringing the total number to more than 1700.

 

Zhang Su, deputy director of the Beijing bureau of press, publication, radio, film and television, said: “Brick-and-mortar bookstores are an important part of a city’s cultural infrastructure. They carry the memories of a city, they embody a city’s cultural heritage and they affect a city’s cultural ambience.”

 

The authorities have decided that bookshops are integral to the city’s future.  “We cannot rely on the market to ease the bricks-and- mortar bookshops’ existential difficulties, and a government policy supporting them is absolutely necessary,” Zhang said.

The city authorities want each of Beijing’s 16 districts to have a “highly visible” bookshop, in shopping centres, sightseeing spots, transportation hubs and densely populated neighbourhoods. They can open 24 hours a day and public libraries will also set up branches inside bookshops and vice-versa, bookshops can open in libraries.

The requirement that a bookshop must have been in business for three years in order to receive subsidies has been scrapped, which means that more are eligible to benefit.  The city has also extended a clause to exempt all bookstores from sales taxes.

The question of how much the state should intervene in the protection of bookshops is one the book industry wrestles with from country to country.  In France and Germany, for example, discounting of books is illegal in order to create a level playing field for smaller outlets.  The UK used to have such a system – called the Net Book Agreement – but it collapsed in 1995.  The next two decades saw a decline in the number of independent bookstores as a result, though that slow-down has now halted.

China’s move to help the capitals’ bookshops will be watched with interest by the international book community.

Recent News

22Feb
YS Chi Wins 2024 Book Fair Lifetime Award

YS Chi Wins 2024 Book Fair Lifetime Award

YoungSuk “YS” Chi, Chairman of Elsevier and the Association of American Publishers, has been announced as the recipient of the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award by the London Book Fair.   This prestigious award acknowledges individuals who have made a significant impact on the global book industry. It is open to professionals such as publishers, agents, […]

21Feb
Muscat Book Fair: Global Stories, Local Spotlight

Muscat Book Fair: Global Stories, Local Spotlight

The 28th installment of the Muscat International Book Fair commenced on February 21 at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, featuring an extensive assortment of over 600,000 titles from 34 countries. This year’s focal point was on Palestine, exploring various facets of the crisis, while the overarching theme revolved around artificial intelligence, encompassing numerous events […]

21Feb
Booksellers Call for Gaza Ceasefire

Booksellers Call for Gaza Ceasefire

There were calls for the American Booksellers Association (ABA) to address the situation in Gaza at the organisation’s annual Winters’s Institute meeting, this year held in Cincinnati. At various sessions, booksellers voiced their frustration that the body has, so far, not backed calls for a ceasefire.  One member, identifying as “a Jewish person for Palestine,” […]

Related Posts

Bookstores’ role in today’s Enlightenment

Bookstores’ role in today’s Enlightenment

Bookstores, and in particular independent bookstores, play a role similar to that of coffee shops during the European Enlightenment – that is the interesting view of Connecticut English professor Rick Magee's writing in CT Insider.   He writes: ‘One of the driving...

China Room by Sunjeev Sahota – Book Review

China Room by Sunjeev Sahota – Book Review

China Room is a tale of injustice that narrates the story of an alienated youth who travels to remote rural India, where his great-grandmother lived in 1929, at 18, he is in the throes of heroin addiction. His account of a summer spent in rural Punjab is interspersed...

Books Published in January 2024

Books Published in January 2024

  Glorious Exploits by Ferdia Lennon The year is 412 BC, and Sicilian potters Lampo and Gelon are planning to put on a play – of Euripides’ Medea no less. Who better to cast in it than the thousands of Athenian men who lie about starving and practically boiling...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest