UIJEONGBU, Feb.26 (Korea Bizwire) – After Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi Province adopted a public library-bookstore membership point system, small neighborhood bookstores have been brought back to life.
One year ago, book prices were fixed to protect small neighborhood bookstores, but the system was ineffective as it only increased prices and actually led to a drop in sales. As a result, Uijeongbu’s new library point system is especially noteworthy.
The city first adopted the ‘public library-bookstore membership point’ system in November 2014, when a fixed book price policy was established nationwide.
The system allows customers to use their record of public library usage at bookstores. A total of 15 book sellers including Youngpoong Bookstore, 11 individual bookstores, and three book distributors are participating.
Whenever one borrows one book at the library, 100 points are saved, and 50 points are saved for children’s books. Under the system, one point is the equivalent of one won, and people can use their points when more than 10 points have been accumulated. When customers buy books at participating bookstores, discounts equivalent to the accumulated points are offered.
However, the bookstores have not seen adverse financial effects. Total book sales in Uijeongbu reached 450 million won last year. The sales were evenly distributed across all 15 bookstores that accept public library-bookstore membership points. An average of 30 million won was generated as new revenue.
In addition, five percent of book purchasing costs are saved in a joint account for the 15 bookstores. These funds are used to maintain the amount of discounts incurred by the bookstores. Last year a total of 18 million won was accumulated.
However, Youngpoong stores did not collect their 10 million won share from the fund. By taking on the loss themselves, the funds were instead saved for book related festivals. As a result, a total of 280 million won was made available for programs that all citizens could benefit from.
Through the policy, small neighborhood bookstores managed to increase their revenue, and citizens can now buy books at discounted prices. Profits from the bookstores have also been returned to citizens, creating a virtuous cycle.
Uijeongbu plans to provide its citizens with a text message service related to the point system. Information on saved and used points will be provided.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)