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Bookstores keep battling on

By Xu Ming (Global Times)

11:10, June 05, 2012

A customer is choosing children's books in Page One's Indigo store. Photo: Xu Ming/GT

Physical bookstores are facing a grim future at the moment, as the public turns to digital literature. But Page One, a Singapore-based Asian chain, has bucked the trend with its opening of a second branch in Beijing, and plans for a third.

There were already concerns within the industry when Page One opened its first store last April in China's World Trade Center Tower 3. At the time, Liu Gui, Page One's general manager in China, said that the firm was prepared to wait for three years to make a profit after offsetting initial costs.

Page One, originally a small shop selling art and design books in Singapore, now has dozens of branches in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand. On May 28, its second shop in Beijing, the Indigo bookstore in Wangjing, opened its doors.

Liu told the Global Times that Page One plans to open a third store this October in Sanlitun Village, Beijing. "Given the business status of the first store, in addition to two stores in Wangjing and Sanlitun, we could be profitable sooner than planned," Liu said.

He said that Page One had tried to be low-key in the opening of the Indigo bookstore and invited only a few media outlets to the opening ceremony. But this didn't keep them from being a focus of attention, particularly against the background of a shrinking book market in China.

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