China sees growth in bookstores despite COVID-19 epidemic
China's physical bookstore industry withstood the stresses of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, with about 1,500 bricks-and-mortar bookstores shutting their doors but more than 4,000 new ones opening, according to new industry data.
A report published at the 2021 China Bookstore Conference on Tuesday shows Beijing ranking first among Chinese cities with 639 new bookstores opening last year.
The conference, jointly organized by the Books and Periodicals Distribution Association of China and the Bookdao New Publishing Institute (BNPI), explored the future of the country's bookstores, including the innovation of reading services.
Beijing won the title of "Capital of Bookstores" in 2020 due to the large number of stores, fast upgrades and policy support in the city.
The conference also granted awards to more than 30 bookstores that increased sales and innovative services in 2020.
Many physical bookstores were overwhelmed last year by stiff competition from e-commerce, management expenses and high rents during the epidemic.
Organizing live-streaming events and starting online business operations proved useful in cushioning the epidemic's impact on sales, said Cheng Sanguo, head of the BNPI, at the conference.