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August 21, 2019

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Publishing industry gets a museum

The nation’s first museum featuring the history and achievements of China’s publishing industry is to be built in Yangpu District’s waterfront area, Xu Jiong, head of the Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau, announced at the Shanghai Book Fair yesterday.

In addition to displays of artefacts, the China Modern Press and Publication Museum will host an archives collection, restore cultural relics and showcase cultural and creative products.

Digital media will feature and the museum will be a base for media innovation.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2021, Xu said.

Collection of exhibits has been under way for years and is ongoing. The first exhibit was a handwritten inscription given by Ba Jin, one of the most prominent Chinese writers of the 20th century, to the Commercial Press in 1998 for its centennial celebration.

The museum now has tens of thousands of exhibits, including books, newspapers and magazines from the  period of the Republic of China (1912-49), items such as wooden movable-type printing components and lithography tools. More than 2,000 letters and manuscripts from famous domestic writers such as Qian Zhongshu, Mao Dun and Ye Shengtao have been collected, along with 2,200 signed books.

Videos and oral history documents from more than 230 newsmen and publishers are also recorded as digital exhibits.

Xu reported a rise in book sales during the book fair, which ended yesterday.

The newly opened Duoyun Bookstore in Shanghai Tower, one of the book fair’s parallel venues, had 26,300 visitors in its first eight days.

Also yesterday, the 2019 Shanghai Citizen Reading Report was released. Although printed material is still the preferred option for local readers, digital reading is narrowing the gap.

According to the report, more than 43 percent of 4,821 respondents chose physical books as their main reading method, while 25 percent prefer digital reading and nearly 31 percent chose both. The proportion of paper readers continued to see a downward trend from the 53 percent eight years ago.

About 44 percent of readers said they spent more time on traditional reading than digital reading, while 38 percent spent more time on digital reading.

Most readers bought books online or read e-books from online platforms and fewer borrowed books from libraries, which raised the question about the place of libraries and physical bookstores in the digital era, it said.

Pop-up bookstores for specific purposes are popular all over the country. But Xu is promoting the idea of “slow bookstores,” meaning themed shops selling books and holding events related to these themes to attract readers.


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