Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Bookstores hurting amid fuel, electricity price hikes

By Weng Lu-huang  /  Staff reporter

The hikes in fuel and electricity prices have not only caused a chain reaction of rising retail prices and consumers becoming more conservative about their spending, but the stores on Taipei’s “Bookshop Street” (書街) also say business is dropping off.

Bookstore owners on Chongqing S Road — a location known for its multitude of bookstores — are blaming the government policy of raising fuel and electricity prices for their decreasing sales.

The increase in fuel and electricity prices has led to a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in sales over the past few months, bookstore owners said.

Lin Shih-chen (林世禎), general manager of the Chienhung Bookstore, one of the larger chain stores on the street, said bookstores selling hardcopy books have been facing a difficult time in recent years because fewer children are being born and because of the rise of Internet bookstores.

In order to compete with Internet bookstores, Chienhung this month is offering 21 percent off all civil servant examination books and 15 percent off on all stationery items, as well as a NT$50 coupon for every purchase of NT$1,000 or more on the store’s 37th anniversary, he said.

The hike in fuel and electricity prices has been putting pressure on book sales because consumers are becoming more conservative in their spending habits and books are not necessities, he said.

Lin said demand for literature, comics and magazines have all decreased.

Despite the steady demand for examination-related books, Lin said he had also noticed that students or those preparing to take the civil servant examinations are rarely buying other reference books like they used to do.

The decreasing sales have caused a chain reaction for suppliers like printing presses and publishing houses, Lin said

Lin said he hoped to work with the Book Street Promotion Association to help inject new life into the street with lower prices and better marketing.

Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer

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