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June 1, 2011

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Another bookstore shuttered

ZHANG Qing, who has run the Qingyun Book Store at Fudan University for more than 17 years, is ending his career as a private book dealer and is looking at the clothing business.

Many students, teachers, alumni and book lovers are rushing to the store to grab a bargain before its closure next Monday. The store features academic and art books.

Thousands of books are piled up in the 70-square-meter store for the clearing sale at a 75 percent discount.

"The store has a lot of good literature, history and philosophy books," said Wang Yijing, a Fudan postgraduate student, yesterday.

"It's different from the modern shops stuffed with bestsellers, popular web novels or reference books for master's degree candidate exam or the civil servant test," she added.

Bookseller Zhang said, "I notice that many people feel very sad and I must be the saddest person. It's a pity, but I have no other choice."

He told Shanghai Daily that he believed his small store could escape the fatality brought by the booming online book-selling business due to its good location on campus.

But Zhang was caught on the wrong foot by the changing reading habits of people, especially the younger generation. "People born in the 1990s learn to the use the computer from their childhood and they are accustomed to reading online or other digital readers," Zhang said.

The store has been running a deficit for two years due to rising rent and labor costs as well as meager profits. Zhang plans to change the store into a clothing shop.

Zhang's is not an isolated case. A lot of small private bookstores around universities have met a similar fate.

Zhou Siqin, an official with the Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau, has urged the city government to subsidize these small private bookstores which are finding it difficult to survive. "The fun of bumping into a good book in a store by accident cannot be replaced by any online book store," she insisted.


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