Fiction publisher

Book Fair opens new chapter for e-commerce platforms and coffee culture

The annual Shanghai Book Fair will feature more individual bookstores and, for the first time, some e-commerce platforms, said Xu Jiong, head of the city’s press and publications administration.

An area will also be allocated on the second floor of the Shanghai Exhibition Center as a new “Reading + Coffee Culture” area for people to rest, exchange ideas and take a look at innovative cultural products.

“Readers need a more relaxing and comfortable space to read. Traditional bookstores have already followed the trend and the book fair should do the same,” Xu said on Monday. The opening of the fair is scheduled for August 11.

Traditional brick and mortar stores joining the event include Toyou Books, which turns into a pub at night, Will Commune, where readers can borrow books for free, the Xinchao women’s-themed bookstore, and the bookstore. Island on the theme of detectives.

Xu said the fair will put more emphasis on supporting and promoting the newly emerged special bookstores, and future fairs will all have a group of different brick and mortar stores as exhibitors.

This year, e-commerce platforms like JD and Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok) will have booths and provide online and offline services.

In public spaces, new environmentally friendly materials will be used in the construction of the stands instead of the old wood and paper products. Plastic bags and packaging will be replaced with more attractive recyclable book bags.

In order to improve the management of on-site catering, as well as to ensure the prevention and control of epidemics, a catering area will be installed near gate 9 of the exhibition center. Nearly 30 special dishes from nine popular food brands will be on offer.

Exhibitors from three districts will be specially represented – 800 Show from Jing’an District, Shanghai Music Valley from Hongkou District and Sinan Mansions from Huangpu District. The 16 districts will organize their own book fairs in different fields.

The 800 Show branch will focus on a “City of Future Reading” theme to demonstrate the nature of reading in the future. Leading science and technology companies will work with digital reading providers to organize activities such as reading, living, artificial intelligence, internet and big data. Big national names in both fields, including Huawei, electric car maker NIO and the China Literature and Spiritual Wealth Club, will showcase their own examples of culture in urban digital transformation.

The Shanghai Music Valley branch will blend elements such as music, reading, cultural tourism and cultural innovation and show how people can enjoy reading while traveling. Sinan Mansions will encourage a mix of social life and culture.

A map of local brick and mortar bookstore locations will be available to help visitors find their favorites. The book fair also has its own mascot, Doudian, whose head is shaped like a comma.

The first awards ceremony for local publisher Dookbook’s sci-fi writing competition, aimed at unearthing more talented young writers, will be held at the fair.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, several exhibitions on relevant publications and many new books on this topic will be presented.

Doudian, mascot of the Shanghai Book Fair, whose head is shaped like a comma.

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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson