From The South China Morning Post:
During a one-hour live stream, two members of staff circled around the children’s section of an empty bookstore in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, flipping through illustrated books for dozens of online viewers.
At one point, the female member of staff who was holding the camera picked up Forever Young, a picture book by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, and said: “I love this book, and I highly recommend it. Fellow watchers, if you are interested, I can add you to our readers’ group on WeChat.”
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, many of China’s 70,000 bricks-and-mortar bookstores are among numerous small and medium-sized enterprises who have taken a hit from a lack of customers as many cities have closed shops and public facilities.
The virus is a further blow to physical book shops who were already under pressure from online rivals, as well as a growing trend of reading books on electronic devices, such as Amazon’s Kindle.
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Owspace, originally from Beijing, operates four stores in China, but only one store in a shopping centre on the eastern side of the capital city has opened for business, although daily traffic is down to around 10 per cent, with sales dropping 90 per cent accordingly.
“Even if all of our bookstores reopen, and our business is like what it is now, then we won’t be able to stay in business after two to three months,” said Wu Yanping, a manager at Owspace, who added that around 40 per cent of Owspace’s revenue comes from book sales.
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A recent survey covering more than 1,000 physical bookstores across China in early February revealed that more than 90 per cent had no revenues.
Link to the rest at The South China Morning Post