BEIJING, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Despite piles of newspapers and magazines on display, Beijing newsstand owner Mr. Xia uses his mobile phone to browse the news online.
"If I did not sell drinks and phone cards, I would be at a loss every day," he said.
His newsstand, in west Zhongguancun, Haidian district, feels stale. The kiosk is less than 10 square meters, sells cold drinks, cigarettes, chewing gum and so forth, and looks like a mini grocery store.
Xia, 32, begins to work at 7 a.m. every day and returns home about 8 p.m., rain or shine.
"It's hard to make money selling just newspapers and magazines," he said, "Even when business is booming, I can sell no more than 50 magazines."
His narrow kiosk has nearly 300 newspapers and magazines.
Newsstand owners are faced with a problem. It has always been difficult to keep a newsstand running by just selling newspapers, and today, fewer and fewer people buy them. Having managed his tiny emporium for many years, Xia has witnessed first-hand the shift in reading habits.
"Even I myself watch news online via my mobile phone. It's easy to get all the information you need online," he said.
New media has had a great impact on traditional media, and it seems that print media has entered a winter. Rapid progress and the wide applications of Internet technology mean lifestyles have changed and a substantial number of people now browse news online or read e-books.
Gao Haihao, chairman of the Zhejiang Daily Press Group, believes traditional media cannot rely on just one or two products. It needs to overhaul the whole system, but there are myriads of people who still love newsstands and newspapers.
"Newsstands are a part of our lives, even though our way of reading has changed, I do not want to see newsstands disappear," said microblogger "mujinming."
Over 10,000 newsstands managed by China Post were dismantled between 2008 and 2012, and presently there are a few more than 30,000 remaining, according to Liu Shaoquan, general manager of China Post's newspaper and periodical distribution bureau.
Newsstands show a city's cultural characteristics and are important for spiritual civilization. Netizen "huanhuanlianfeng" appealed, "Don't let the newsstands vanish."
Li Bin, professor at Tsinghua University, said, "people should take the initiative and change with the times rather than lapse into groundless anxiety."
Although the survival of the newsstand is under question, it does not mean they have no value. As the city's cultural barometer, a kiosk displays the city's cultural atmosphere and is window into the history of the city.
"Although I fear newsstands will close in the future, I don't want to change my job just yet," Xia said.