Nearly One Thousand Bookstores in Taiwan Have Shut Down in the Past Decade

Nearly One Thousand Bookstores in Taiwan Have Shut Down in the Past Decade
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What you need to know

Statistics have shown that in 2015, out of a hundred books, eighty of them are purchased through the Internet in Taiwan. Therefore it's not hard to imagine the recession of brick and mortar bookstores and the reason motels are replacing the bookstores that used to line the streets.

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According to the Ministry of Finance, about one thousand bookstores in Taiwan have shut down in the past decade. Workers from the retail book industry say that the high rent and small profit are predicaments the whole industry is facing. The recession of the reading atmosphere in the society is also considered to be one of the main reasons.

Apple Daily reports, Professor Chen Zhao-zhan from National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Library and Information Studies analyzes, students in Taiwan do less extracurricular reading due to the examinations for higher studies. In the meantime, the adults are too busy with their work, which leads to the decrease of reading frequency. These two have resulted in the difficulties encountered by the retail book industry.

A salary man, Mr. Xu says, online bookstores offer lots of discounts and have a variety of different categories of books. Therefore he gradually stopped to go to brick and mortar bookstores.

Author Hou Wen-yong thinks that the reason people read less in recent years is that they spend too much time on smart phones and the Internet. As for e-books, Hou believes they are not mature enough to impose conspicuous influence on paperbacks.

Statistics have shown that in 2015, out of a hundred books, eighty of them are purchased through the Internet in Taiwan. Therefore it’s not hard to imagine the recession of brick and mortar bookstores and the reason motels are replacing the bookstores that used to line the streets.

To encourage people to read, Minister of the Ministry of Culture Hong Meng-qi issued a proposal to launch book coupons of an NT$ 300 (approximately US$ 10) value. However, a week after they discussed the proposal with people from the bookstore industry, they found it difficult to be implemented. The plan has been temporarily stopped.

While the brick and mortar bookstores are facing challenges in Taiwan, the US publishing industry has experienced some interesting changes.

Epoch Times reports that the Association of American Publishers (AAP) says that in the first half of 2015, the revenues of e-books fell by 10 percent, while the largest US retail bookstore chain, Barnes & Noble, says that the printed book sales have grown slightly.

Translated by Vic
Edited by Olivia Yang

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