Online book sales continue to grow, but the pace is slowing

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A live broadcast host presents books at a publishing house booth during the recent National Book Exhibition in Jinan, Shandong Province. [For China Daily/Cheng Yuezhu]

Online book sales continued to grow in China last year, reaching nearly 80% of total book sales, according to a recent report.

At the recent 30th National Book Expo, Beijing-based industrial research firm OpenBook released a report on the Chinese retail book market in the first half of this year.

Online sales have grown steadily since 2015. Based on the total prices of books sold, they have increased by at least 20% year-on-year from 2015 to 2019, then by 7.3% year-on-year. last and 3% in the first half. year.

The channels for selling books have diversified, with e-commerce platforms allowing publishers, bookstores and wholesalers to open their own online stores and sell books directly to readers.

The emergence and development of social media platforms such as Sina Weibo and WeChat have also facilitated online book sales targeting particular consumer groups, and live streaming is now widely adopted in book sales. Anyone now has the potential to become an influential bookseller through live streaming and short videos.

The report says that China’s book sales grew 11.5 percent year-on-year in the first half of this year.

In-store sales rose 51.8%, but the report says this was due to market weakness in the first half of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In-store sales in the first half of this year are down 20% compared to the same period in 2019.

Children’s books accounted for 58.5% of total book sales revenue on short video and live streaming platforms in the first half of this year, followed by psychology and self-help books, lifestyle books and literature.

The report said that the outstanding sales performance of children’s books was due to the fact that they were cheaper on short video platforms than other online platforms.

Discounts on all book categories were highest on short video platforms, averaging 60%, compared to an average discount rate of 48% on major e-commerce websites and 23% on stores. stand-alone online.

Children’s books accounted for 27.7 percent of overall book sales revenue across all channels in the first half of the year, just ahead of social science books at 27.2 percent. The report predicted that the National Day celebrations in October should put social science books at the top of the annual report.

In the children’s book category, sales of children’s literature fell 3.6% year-on-year to drop the top spot for the first time in years to popular science books for children, covering topics such as as nature, science and history.

The share of children’s literature in book sales revenues has been declining for the past five years, and the report calls for attention to this trend and to the development of children’s literature.

“As the market prosperity weakens, publishers should reflect on issues that they once tended to overlook, for example, what literary works are most suitable for children and whether existing children’s literary works are good enough, ”he said.

“Reflections and reflections on these questions would be beneficial for the future development of the children’s literature market.

In the first half of the year, Open-Book’s analytics system covered more than 13,000 offline and online bookstores across the country, with total sales of 36.1 billion yuan (5.58 billion yuan). dollars) for over 1.77 million types of books.

(Source: China Daily)


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