China offers cash rewards for bookshops in campaign to promote reading and culture

Wuxi is the latest city to join the campaign, naming seven bookshops for their work towards positively influencing the city’s cultural scene

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 1:43pm

The eastern Chinese city of Wuxi is the latest centre to get on board a countrywide campaign to reward bookshops in a drive to promote reading and culture.

The government of Wuxi in Jiangsu province named seven bookshops that will each receive a grant of 30,000 yuan (US$4,500), mainland media reported on Thursday.

The campaign was launched in June 2016 and had been rolled out in metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai, as well as smaller cities like Suining in Sichuan province, news website reported.

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According to the central government’s directive, bookshops that have a “positive influence” on the city’s cultural and literary scene are eligible for the grants, and can nominate themselves based on operational ability, reputation and efforts to promote reading. A committee set up by the local government then draws up a shortlist and vets outstanding nominations.

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Librairie Avant-Garde, Baicaoyuan and the state-owned Xinhua Bookstore are among the seven from Wuxi to be recognised in the city’s first such list, according to the city’s official WeChat account.

Librairie Avant-Garde ranks among China’s best-known retailers, and the chain is popular among bookworms in search of Chinese titles. The flagship store, housed in a former underground parking garage and bomb shelter in the historical city of Nanjing, was named one of the world’s top 10 bookstores last year by the National Geographic magazine (US), the report said.