China's first magazine-themed store launched in Shanghai
Published: Jul 20, 2023 12:45 AM
Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

China's first magazine-themed store was launched at a park in downtown Shanghai in July. Besides magazines, cultural and creative products are available. The store also sells drinks and operates a restaurant, which the management hopes can help the traditional brick and mortar business survive and thrive in a digital era.

Dayin Bookmall Heping Park Magazines Tea House officially opened on July 9 in Shanghai's Hongkou district with hundreds of magazines in 30 categories from 20 countries and regions around the world displayed in the two-story 1,500-square-meter store. The two characteristics of being exclusively magazine-themed and in an open public park are reportedly the first in Shanghai and even in China.

"We hope visitors to our store can enjoy their reading time here as the atmosphere is very comfortable and we are also offering new magazine options based on customers' demand," Xu Huixin, the manager of the store told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The magazines include international and Chinese publications, Shanghai-style culture, current affairs, art, sports, music, fashion and global tourism, among others.

The store adopts the model of "every magazine can be read, borrowed and subscribed to," to provide readers with one-stop comprehensive services of reading, purchasing and borrowing.

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

A mini exhibition in memory of Pablo Picasso is also an effort the store is making to differentiate itself from other stores.

Two of Pablo Picasso's linoleum cuts pieces, Portrait of A Lady by Lucas Cranach the Younger and Picador and Bull, are displayed in the first floor of the store.

Asked by the Global Times about the revenue structure of the store, Xu said that sales of magazines and related peripheral products accounted for "about half of the revenue, the same as sales from food and beverages."

Tea, coffee and other beverages are priced from 18 yuan ($2.5) to 58 yuan while the restaurant offers food priced the same as restaurants in commercial areas of Shanghai.

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Xu expressed optimism for the future of the store, saying that senior citizens are part of the target market as they are part of the "laid-off wave" of the 1990s. Following that period, newsstands selling newspapers and magazines mushroomed in Shanghai, offering job opportunities for the laid off. "That's part of their life, deep-rooted in their memory. So we, a magazine-themed store, can arouse their nostalgia and they can support us by buying some magazines," Xu said.

The store is a cooperation project between Dayin Bookmall and the Hongkou district government as the latter is promoting a "park plus" campaign to empower parks in the district with more functions to better serve local residents. The store presents "culture plus" for the park, which reopened to the public in October 2022 after a thorough renovation.

Global Times reporters found senior citizens were enjoying outdoor activities in Heping Park despite the heat wave on Wednesday, doing exercise or dancing and singing.

An elderly man surnamed Zhang purchased the latest Xinmin Weekly for 10 yuan and told the Global Times that it would be good if the store can provide the latest version of all the magazines, "instead of displaying magazines that were published years ago. They are not expensive to me as I have a pension," Zhang added.

One woman purchased Harvest, a prestigious literary bimonthly from Shanghai Literary & Art Publishing House priced at 55 yuan. The store can promote consumption as people can see the magazines up close, she said.

On the second floor, imported lifestyle magazines such as Bazaar are displayed.

Xu told the Global Times that the original price of the imported magazine plus some operational costs will determine the price of the magazines sold in the store.