Last week the China Bookstore Conference released its latest figures, showing that there are more than 70,000 bricks & mortar bookstores in the country.
As everywhere, some stores opened while others closed, but in China the 2019 ratio was stacked in the favour of new stores opening, with more than 4,000 new stores emerging while only 500 closed.
Across the country, Chengdu, Nanjing, Shenyang, Xi’an and Chongqing have the most bookstores.
Statistics show that in 2019, brick-and-mortar bookstores on campus, especially university bookstores, are the focus of development. While rural bookstores and community bookstores are booming.
Big book malls continue to develop in 2019, according to the conference. China currently has 135 book malls covering more than 5,000 square meters each, of which 35 are over 10,000 square meters.
But one problem that arises here is that in January 2018 we were being told, with another source set of figures, that there were 225,000 bookstores in China.
Whether one or other report is erroneous or whether this is a matter of definitions (in the US or UK for example we might count only bookstore chains, only chains and independent booksellers, or every outlet – airport stalls, supermarkets, etc – that display books) will require further research.
But we should be in little doubt that publishing is in a high growth mode in China, both traditional and digital, and with a population of 1.4 billion and 854 million o them online it’s a safe assumption China leads by volume, and also likely the US revenue hegemony will be under threat,