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Books added to Spring Festival shopping list
( 2004-01-16 16:21) (People's Daily)

With a basket full of books, Ms. Yang was checking out at Xidan Bookstore in downtown Beijing.

"I came here to get some books just for myself, but ended up finishing my lunar New Year present shopping," she said.

Yang got books as presents for all her family members. "It is really hard to figure out what to get for everybody for the new year. Then the idea of book-buying just occurred to me when I was here," she said.

"I guess a book is a fantastic idea as nobody could ever have enough books."

The packed Xidan bookstore suggests that Yang is not the only one who added books to their shopping list for the upcoming SpringFestival, the biggest celebration for Chinese which falls on Jan. 22 this year.

"Books on leisure activities and lifestyle sell briskly as the Spring Festival approaches," said a bookstore worker identified as Qin.

The girls doing gift wrapping said they have been kept busy these days as many customers buy the books for presents and they ask to wrap them nicely.

Sales records showed that books on politics and economy also enjoyed good sales.

"People's tastes are changing and ordinary people are becoming increasingly concerned with major events of the nation," said Qin.

The seven-day holiday has provided a perfect time for people tosit down and read a bit, so many people have book-buying plans, Qin said. What is more, with China's fast-paced changes, higher skill requirements for jobs have driven the Chinese to read more, Qin said.

Authoritative statistics showed that China published 170,962 topics of books in 2002, up 42.3 percent from 1997. The figure for2003 was expected to exceed that.

Beijing has 25 public libraries and 506 book stations affiliated with libraries where people can borrow books.

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