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Beijing's Ditan Book Market Bites the Dust

May 7, 2013
By Pang Lei

For 22 years Beijing's book lovers have been heading to Ditan Park, a former temple to the god of Earth just to the north of the city's center, to pick up bargains at an outdoor book market that's held every Spring and Autumn.

However, organizers say that the cost of holding the market has now become too high and that retailers, under pressure from online stores and piracy, are no longer willing to take part. For the second year in a row the market will not be held this Spring.

Organizers told The Beijing News that the market had been losing money for years as the cost of hiring security and leasing the space for the event increased.

The price of hiring a security guard for the event had increased from 50 yuan per guard per day to 360 yuan a day. The cost of leasing space in the park has also skyrocketed, with organizers now asked to pay over 500,000 yuan for the duration of the event.

An industry insider told the newspaper that the appeal of the book market had been in decline for a while now. Organizers appeared to lack any creativity and many of the stall holders didn't really seem to know that much about books. The arts and craftwork on sale at the market were not unique and could be found at any store or market.

Another reason for markets decline is the rise of online book stores.

One of the main draw cards of the market was the possibility of finding a great bargain. However, most of the cheap books were either second-hand or older books that had been on the market for a long time. More recent releases and books from the best seller lists were usually sold at full price. Now that people can get discounts on new and popular books from the comfort of their own homes via online bookstores, they're less likely to go out of their way and scrummage through piles of books in Ditan Park

Links and Sources
Beijing News: 成本高盗版多地坛书市停办


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