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February 29, 2012

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Home » Metro » Society

15m yuan to support publishing firms

THE Shanghai government will allocate 15 million yuan (US$2.38 million) in annual funding to support the city's publishing industry, officials announced yesterday.

Five million yuan will be used specifically for brick-and-mortar bookstores - mostly private ones - in the form of subsidies, loans with discounted interest rates and merit-based rewards.

The Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau released details of the package, which came too late for state-owned Shanghai Book Mall's Huaihai Bookstore, which was shut only two weeks ago after 30 years in business.

The incident further pushed long-standing public concerns about the future of bookstores. The issue has remained a hot topic since 2010, when many branches of the popular private bookseller Jifeng Bookstore were closed due to high rent and low profit. O2-Sun Bookstore in Wudaokou, one of the most popular in Beijing, also closed last October.

The bureau attributed the decline in bookstores to three major causes - increasing property prices, rapidly developing Internet booksellers and the increasing popularity of e-books and portable devices.

"An annual fund of at least 15 million yuan will be guaranteed for the next five years, which can hopefully help the market and bookstores to take on a positive direction. And we do also hope to continue the fund afterwards," the bureau said.

"It is important to help create an environment for the development of brick-and-mortar bookstores, particularly specialized and high-quality private booksellers, which is a necessary element of an international cultural metropolitan city like Shanghai."

According to the bureau, the city has 6,000 to 7,000 licensed book-selling venues (branches of chain stores included), with an annual sales volume of about 11 billion yuan.

The deadline for applications on the bureau's website,, is March 15, and the first booksellers to get the fund will be announced on April 23. The number of stores to win funds hasn't been decided, but some might get more than half a million yuan.


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