In the September, bad news was dealt to bookstore lovers when Joint Publishing (三联书店) stores on Liuhua Lu and Zengcheng were both closed, signifying the end of the chain in Guangzhou.
Joint Publishing, the Hong Kong based bookstore and publisher, had operated in Guangzhou for 17 years running five stores in the city during peak operations.
In China, over 10,000 entity bookstores have closed between 2007 and 2009.
A crisis for entity bookstores where customers can walk in, browse books and magazines is ongoing worldwide. In July, Borders, the second biggest bookstore in America closed 399 of its chain stores. Waterstone Bookstores in Britain announced that their profits in 2010 decreased by 70 percent for the same period last year.
According to a bookstore manager, the rent has accounted for 70 to 80 percent of their income. More than 10 percent would be paid to taxes and salaries, so the profit we could get is only 4 to 5 percent. This is not a unique situation for an entity bookstore. For most stores, salaries and rent account for more than 50 percent of their income, earning around 3 percent profits. Simultaneously, online bookstores have joined traditional competitors further reducing their market shares.
Online bookstore buyers don't need to leave the comfort of home and often get a discount. For specific books, buyers are able to compare different stores in search for the lowest price.
Tang Ning Bookstore (Guangzhou Daily)
The bookstore's place in society is that of meditative retreat, playing an edifying role in the spiritual world. Rituals of wandering, reading and thinking take place, while taking a rest from the human jungle.
Textbooks are the bestselling books in bookstores, today. However, entity bookstores don't only sell books. Take Tang Ning Bookstore in Guangzhou for example, it sells CDs, creative goods and coffee, as well as functioning as an art gallery and culture salon. The Wen Jinge Bookstore (文津阁书店) profits by selling second-hand books discounting their new copies. The Fang Suo Commune (方所) has also built a distinguishing model for bookstores, making itself a cultural events complex.