New chap­ter for book­stores

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Chengdu branch of Fang Suo Com­mune had its grand open­ing on Jan 29, and dur­ing its two-month soft open­ing pe­riod it at­tracted 7,000 to 20,000 vis­i­tors per day, dou­ble the num­ber at its first branch in Guangzhou.

The Guangzhou branch’s monthly book sales can hit 1.5 mil­lion yuan ($240,000), far ex­ceed­ing the pre­dic­tion of only about 100,000 yuan per month that was made by peo­ple in the Chi­nese book in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Fang Suo Com­mune Chief Con­sul­tant Liao Mei-li.

Book sales ac­count for around 35 per­cent of the to­tal sales at the Guangzhou branch.

“A brick-and-mor­tar book­store that only sells books is un­able to sur­vive in the dig­i­tal age. How­ever, what’s amaz­ing about the book in­dus­try is that it can do crossovers with many other in­dus­tries such as bev­er­ages and movies. There is a mar­ket for such cross-in­dus­try book­stores,” Liao said at the Chengdu branch’s open­ing cer­e­mony.

She was a co-founder of Es­lite Book­store, one of the largest re­tail book­store chains in Tai­wan, and has worked in the in­dus­try for al­most two decades.

“With a big mar­ket, the main­land is where tal­ent in the cul­tural in­dus­try can give full play to its cre­ativ­ity to break the ceil­ing of the re­tail in­dus­try.”

Be­fore Fang Suo Com­mune, many other Chi­nese book­stores such as the chain O2SUN Book­stores had also tried to boost their busi­ness by in­tro­duc­ing cafes and gift re­tails.

How­ever, few have made it. O2SUN Book­stores col­lapsed just be­fore Fang Suo Com­mune’s Guangzhou branch opened in 2011.

Book and art lovers

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