A Bookselling Research Network Symposium

Date & Time: May 26, 2023 02:00 PM London

Booksellers and Bookstores in Mainland China: the Age of Common Prosperity

This talk considers the place and importance of books in Chinese society and in the cultural life of the people. Our research gives new insights so that we can have a better understanding of the relationship between books and what has become known as common prosperity in mainland China. This, in turn, feeds into wider societal concerns as it raises questions about the place and purpose of bookstores within the broader social culture. The growth and development of the Chinese book trade will be covered but whereas other studies base their findings on data taken from sales and finance our focus is on official government publications to give a fresh perspective on the apparent expansion and development of physical bookstores in mainland China. How does an examination of the government policy regarding booksellers, as set out in the Five-Year Plans and the Laws of the People’s Republic of China, help us to understand the importance of literacy and culture in the wider Chinese society?

Simon Mahony is Professor of Digital Humanities, Beijing Normal University at Zhuhai, Emeritus Professor at the Department of Information Studies, University College London, and Visiting Professor at the Department of Information Management, Peking University. His research focus is digital humanities with specific interests in education, information studies, equality, diversity, inclusion, and the open agenda.

By Eben J Muse

Dr Eben J. Muse is a Reader in Bookselling at the School of Arts, Culture(s) and Language at Bangor University. He has been Co-Director of Stephen Colclough Centre for the History and Culture of the Book since 2016. He was raised in a bookstore in Massachusetts which he now owns, and he conducts research into the business and culture of bookstores. He is currently editing the Books & Bookselling strand of the Cambridge Elements Series Publishing and Book Culture and co-director of the Bookselling Research Network.