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Bookstores find niches to remain competitive
By Pan Zheng

Bookstores can represent a certain level of culture in a city. However, many bookstores are struggling due to the impact of both online bookstores and electronic reading. More people are buying books online even though they enjoy reading in bookstores because of the ambience.

Shanghai is now exploring new ways to support privately owned bookstores so they can compete against online retailers and digital media. An excellent reading environment and expertise in specific subjects are considered two advantages for such bookstores.

The following bookstores have successfully created a niche and are doing well in the face of tough competition.

Luming Bookstore

It is near Fudan University and focuses on academic books. It has been founded by two of the university’s postgraduate students. Luming has seen some tough financial times — even closing at one point — but Fudan University is helping by no longer charging rent.

Many people go looking for specific academic books that are difficult to find. Most of its books are in the fields of literature, philosophy, history and art. The bookstore has a solid reputation among many foreign and domestic scholars.

Luming employees will also help customers with searches. Just give the bookstore the title and publishing house of a book and they will do their best to track down a copy.

Address: 198 Zhengsu Rd, Yangpu District

Tel: 6564-7139

Zhongshuge Bookstore

Considered the city’s “most beautiful bookstore” by many, Zhongshuge Bookstore is in Songjiang District’s Thames Town, a British-style residential community. It has received more than 1 million visitors since opening less than a year ago. The store attracts many with its glass floors and wants to make customers feel as though they are in a “sea of books.”

The first floor has nine reading rooms with each featuring books in a specific field. The second floor has a post-modern look. In the center there is an egg-shaped white room with glass walls and ceiling. This section has been designed by some students from the China Academy of Art.

Zhongshuge will expand in the second half of this year.

Address: No. 930, Thames Town, Lane 900, Sanxing Rd N., Songjiang District

Tel: 6766-899

Poplar Kids’ Picture Bookstore

The name says it all. This bookstore’s goal is to provide the best children’s titles to kids. With such a clear target, the bookstore concentrates on offering good services and organizing various reading activities for young ones. It now has two stores in Shanghai.

Neither outlet is big, but they are decorated like a fairyland. The colorful bookshelves and reading spaces make it seem as though children are reading in an amusement park.

Address: 262 Yuyuan Rd, Jing’an District; 7F, 1038 Nanjing Rd W.

Tel: 6248-9033, 6218-2224

Customer Service: (86-21) 52920164