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Shanghai bookstores take steps to get through tough times

(Xinhua)    09:22, March 24, 2020

SHANGHAI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Brick-and-mortar bookstores in Shanghai are taking new steps such as open-air book fairs and "take-out" services to get themselves through the novel coronavirus outbreak.

On Saturday morning, an open-air book market was launched in the downtown area of Shanghai. Book fans wearing masks strolled in the gentle spring breeze. Different kinds of books were piled up on the vendors' tables with hand sanitizer and alcohol prep pads beside them.

Most brick-and-mortar bookstores in China have reopened to the public since early March, and the passenger flow in Shanghai's bookstores has recovered to around half of that before the outbreak.

However, it will still take time for business to return to normal. From Saturday, a total of 58 bookstores jointly launched a giant open-air book exhibition with special discounts to attract customers.

To survive the crisis, brick-and-mortar bookstores that once relied heavily on social gatherings are resorting to shifting their markets and services from offline to online through new approaches including live streaming and online selling.

The Shanghai Foreign Language Bookstore, with a history of 70 years, has settled in Meituan Dianping, China's online food delivery platform, and launched "take-out" service to attract more customers and mitigate the effect of the outbreak.

Gu Bin, general manager of the bookstore, said it gained a sales of 56,600 yuan (around 8,000 U.S. dollars) on the first day of the "take-out" service.

According to Meituan Dianping, three brick-and-mortar bookstores in Shanghai and a total of 72 bookstores in Beijing have settled in the platform.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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