Book fair to feature e-commerce for first time as well as traditional

The annual Shanghai Book Fair, scheduled to open on August 11, will include more individual brick-and-mortar bookstores as well as e-commerce platforms for the first time, Xu Jiong, head of the local press and publication administration, said yesterday.

The fair will feature an area on the second floor of the Shanghai Exhibition Center as a new “Reading plus Coffee Culture” zone for readers to rest, exchange ideas and take a look at innovative cultural products.

“Readers need a more relaxing and cozy space for reading. The brick-and-mortar bookstores have already changed for them and the book fair should do so as well,” Xu said.

The individual brick-and-mortar bookstores joining this year’s book fair include Toyou Books, a bookshop that becomes a pub at night, Will Commune, where readers can borrow books for free, the female-themed Xinchao Bookstore and detective-themed Island Bookstore.

According to Xu, the book fair will place more emphasis on supporting and promoting emerging and featured bookshops, and future book fairs will have a group of different individual brick-and-mortar bookstores as exhibitors.

E-commerce platforms like JD and Douyin will have booths at the fair and provide both online and offline services.

In the fair’s public areas, new eco-friendly materials will be used to build booths, replacing wood and paper. Plastic bags and packaging will no longer be used. Instead, more attractive recyclable book bags will be developed.

To enhance on-site management of catering as well as pandemic prevention and control, a food corner will be located near Gate 9 of the exhibition center. Nearly 30 special dishes from nine popular food brands will be available there. This year, the book fair will have three major district-level branches — 800 Show in Jing’an District, Shanghai Music Valley in Hongkou District and Sinan Mansions in Huangpu District, while all 16 districts will have their own book fair events held in different places.

Reading goes hi-tech

The 800 Show branch will focus on the theme “City of Future Reading” to show how reading will be in the future.

There, cutting-edge science and technology firms will work with digital reading providers to organize activities about topics like reading, life, artificial intelligence, the Internet and Big Data.

Domestic big names including Huawei, electric car maker Nio, China Literature and Spiritual Wealth Club will have their own presentations about culture in urban digital transformation.

The Shanghai Music Valley branch will mix elements like music, reading, cultural tourism and innovative cultural markets and allow visitors to enjoy reading while traveling.

Sinan Mansions will have its first bookstore festival and encourage social life on a cultural base.

During the book fair, a map of local brick-and-mortar bookstores will be released to show their locations and help readers find their favorite ones. The fair now has a mascot called Doudian, whose head is shaped like a comma.

The first award ceremony of local publisher Dookbook’s science fiction contest will take place at the fair to highlight more young, talented science fiction authors.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, several exhibitions with related publications will be available to purchase.