New chapter for bookstores
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