City throws 5m lifeline to bookshops

Updated: 2012-02-28 21:11


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SHANGHAI — The city is offering 5 million yuan ($793,800) to support book retailers who find themselves in harsh competition against their online counterparts, the municipal government announced on Tuesday.

Besides the major branches of State-owned Xinhua Bookstores, the money will go largely to private bookshops that play a significant role in enriching people’s cultural lives, according to Kan Ninghui, vice-director of the city’s press and publication bureau.

This is the first time a local government in China has introduced policies to support offline bookstores.

The subsidy is part of an annual allocation of 15 million yuan in support of the city’s publication and book marketing infrastructure. The city plans to keep investing at the same scale for at least five years.

The offline book retailers’ industry has been under increasing pressure due to factors including rising rent costs, online competition and changed reading habits.