You just need to look at a crowded subway car to know that China's brick‑and‑mortar bookstores are in trouble. Finding an individual hunched over a book rather than a smart phone on the commute is as hard as finding one of those electric shared bikes. It's possible, but rare enough that you celebrate when you spot one. But with the Beijing government dishing out subsidies since 2018 to encourage bookstores to open and stay open in this digital age, they have been slowly making a comeback. The first on our list – Zhongshuge – known for its thematic interiors – just opened its flagship branch in Beijing two weeks ago.
So while you might already know The Bookworm and Page One, here are eight local bookstores that are also worth checking out. They may not all have English books, but they are great places to check out the local reading scene and, with the summer heating up, brilliant quiet spots to hang out in air-conditioned comfort.