BEIJING, Nov. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- For more on why bookstores are closing their doors, we are joined by CCTV reporter, Li Kefu.
Q1: Some blame the decline on the rise of online book sellers. How prevalent are these websites in China?
A1: Online book sellers in China have been prosperous in recent years as more Chinese are turning to internet shopping. Dangdang.com and Joyo.com have long been the top spots for online book shopping. Even the online electronic store Suning.com launched a book department in October this year, along with its competitor Jingdong.com. Their ultimate weapon lies in the price. These online stores occasionally offer sales with discounts that are so big, some call them "suicidal" as their profits appear to be so low. They can do this as an online book seller does not have as many costs as a bookshop on the street, since staffing and rent account for half a store’s profit. This has caused a huge plunge in sales for these businesses.
Q2: Is this decline unique to China?
A2: Well, it’s a similar picture in the United States. One of the country’s most famous chains, Borders, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and has since closed down its bookshops. The last time Borders made a profit was in 2006. It’s annual income dropped by $1 billion from 2006-2010. This happened while Amazon.com, an online retailer that offers discounts on many items, including books, is experiencing a surge in customers. Meanwhile, in Beijing, the famous ’Forestsong’ bookshop, has closed its doors after 16 years. According to the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, almost half of the country’s street book stores have gone out of businesses in the last ten years.