New trends in reading amid pandemic

NANJING: Reading has regained its role as healthy lifestyle trend during the coronavirus epidemic, when people are barred from outside activities and left with the bulk of time at home, making this year’s World Book and Copyright Day especially remarkable.
“I didn’t shop ‘vengefully’ but instead have been reading ‘in revenge’ when the epidemic levels off,” said Li Yun, a resident in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province. “The number of books I read and recently listened to on WeChat and Ximalaya has already exceeded that of 2019.”
Ximalaya is a popular audio sharing platform in China, many use it to listen to audiobooks while driving or doing chores. As the coronavirus epidemic is ebbing in China, many cities across the country have issued e-vouchers worth millions of yuan to boost consumption hit hard by the novel coronavirus epidemic.
In Nanjing alone, vouchers worth 7 million yuan (about 987,900 U.S. dollars) were distributed in March for locals to purchase books in 198 bookstores in the city. During the three-day Qingming Festival holiday in early April, total sales of Nanjing’s bookstores exceeded 1 million yuan, second only to vouchers used in the catering industry.
And as offline promotions are discouraged, publishing houses and bookstores have chosen to go online to sell books around this year’s World Book and Copyright Day, which falls on Thursday this year and is usually followed by large-scale promotions.
Bian Qingbo, with the Jiangsu People’s Publishing Ltd., recently made his livestream debut with scholars to introduce books on Chinese history.
“Though the sales brought by livestreaming was limited, it helped us locate our target readers and better understand their needs,” said Bian.
Brick-and-mortar bookstores, already having a hard time surviving, are making full use of technologies and innovating their services to lure readers.
A total of 72 bookstores in Beijing, for example, have begun to offer books on Meituan Waimai, a major food delivery platform in China, which allows readers to receive books they ordered in around 30 minutes. – Agencies