The realty market is killing off bookstores

Updated: 2013-07-05 21:01


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Several popular privately owned bookstores are shuttering their doors, casualties to high realty prices and rising rent, said a Beijing News column (excerpts below).

"We cannot hold on for more than three months," said Cao Zhangwu, manager of Paper Tiger, a privately owned chain of bookstores.

Paper Tiger is one among thousands closing their doors. Data shows that at least 10,000 bookstores were closed since 2007 because of drops in profit. The causes are many: rising labor costs, competition from online stores, but the most important must be soaring rent. According to reports, the rent for a 20-square-meter bookstore is over a 100,000 yuan annually, which is hardly acceptable especially for an industry that deals with meager profit margins.

High rent prices are killing more shops than we can imagine. Retail shops, small restaurants and cafes — all of these are suffering from rising realty prices and high rents. Hopefully the realty market can be curbed before it kills more industries.