Beijing looks for 700 more shops

Beijing looks for 700 more shops

Though digital is on the rise, China has put its money into preserving its physical bookshops.

In July, Beijing city authorities upped their investment, from the equivalent of £2m a year in 2016 to £5.7m in its annual budget to help pay for at least 40% of rents and improvements to bookshops.

The move is designed to encourage a further 700 bookshops to open within three years, the Times has reported. If achieved, the number of bookshops in the capital would reach 1,700, serving its 22 million residents.

Zhang Su, deputy director of the Beijing office of the State Press, Publication, Radio, Film & Television Bureau, said: "Bricks-and-mortar bookshops 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."

Many of the country’s bookshops have closed over the last decade as readers have adopted digital and turned to e-books.

"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.