These days, it is of no surprise that a number of bookstores in big cities likeBeijing,Nanjingare squeezed out of bustling commercial streets and give way to more profitable shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. This might be considered by some people as one of the natural outcomes of market-oriented economy, which puts more emphasis on money making than anything else. Books, however, as special commodities, can never be measured merely by their commercial values. Bookstores, as a distributor of books and a bridge between writers, publishers and readers, deserve preferential treatment at present.


It is true that bookstores are not as lucrative as some shopping malls or restaurants. However, books are faithful friends of mankind and steps to human progress. Good books can refresh people with knowledge and wisdom, which other commodities can not compare with. To some extent, they help develop the characters of their readers and reshape their way of thinking. It would be a pity if one only views books from the point of their commercial values while ignoring their social values and functions. In fact, the shrinking number of bookstores and their “humiliating defeat” in the fierce commercial war is worrisome.


While seeking economic success, we cannot afford to neglect our spiritual and cultural lives, which are equally important. Bookstores play a significant part in cultivating social ethics. Through distributing quality books, bookstores help educate the public on righteous and healthy values and morals. The positive social effects of bookstores as well as their contribution to society can never be taken for granted and be judged by their economic returns and business earnings. Restoring the past glory of bookstores needs help and support from everyone.


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