The Rise of Independent Bookselling in China
This thesis is concerned with the rise of independent booksellers in China since the late 2000s. Drawing on the findings of a qualitative study I conducted with 55 independent booksellers between 2014 and 2015, I argue that independent bookselling in China is an economic activity politicized, and the emergence and development of independent booksellers has been a process shaped by both economic and socio-political factors stemming from both inside and outside the book industry. Studying independent bookselling, a significant change in the Chinese book industry in recent years, my thesis advances our understanding of the transformation of the book industry in China. The notion of ‘politicization’ provides a useful analytical framework for understanding bookselling and publishing in parallel contexts. Finally, by elucidating the distinctive relationship between the evolution of the book industry and some wider social, political and economic processes in China, my thesis adds to the political economy of the media industry in non-Western societies and contributes to the de-Westernization of this long-dominant and yet problematic approach to the study of the media and media industries.