SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — As the number of neighborhood bookstores has halved in the past 18 years, some have pointed out that measures are needed to revitalize small and medium-sized bookstores.
According to data submitted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to Rep. Han Sun-kyo of the Liberty Korea Party, the number of neighborhood bookstores dropped by 55.4 percent to 2,550 in 2017, compared to 4,595 in 1999.
On a yearly basis, the number of neighborhood bookstores fell to 3,357 in 2000 before increasing slightly to 3,589 in 2003. However, bookstores have become increasingly rare over the years, with 2,846 in 2009 and 2,116 in 2015.
When analyzing the data by region, Incheon and South Chungcheong Province had the highest rates of decline, with a drop of 62.5 percent.
The number of neighborhood bookstores has decreased significantly, and following Incheon and South Chungcheong Province are Seoul with a 60.5 percent decrease, South Gyeongsang with 60.2 percent decrease, Gwangju at 60.1 percent, and Gyeonggi at 60 percent.
On the contrary, Daegu only showed a 32.3 percent decrease in the number of neighborhood bookstores, which was the smallest drop, followed by Jeju at 32.6 percent and North Chungcheong Province at 35.2 percent.
Han attributed the sharp decline to the increase in large bookstores, online bookstores with high discount rates, and changes in the publishing environment such as the increasing popularity of e-books.
According to a government survey, 38.5 percent of those who purchased books used large bookstores, and 23.7 percent used online bookstores. Only 10.6 percent used small bookstores in their neighborhoods.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)