Books

Shanghai bookstore opens metro line library scheme

The Aizhi Bookstore chain is offering free book loans to travelers after successful trials last year.

Starting Sunday, a cursory 1 yuan rental fee allows borrowers to take a book or magazine from a store or specially allocated shelf at one of over 60 designated spots: 16 stations on Shanghai's metro line 2, ten stations elsewhere around the metro network, and 30 repositories based in offices and residential areas, notes the Shanghai Daily.

Loans are made on trust, asking for books to be returned after a day, but with no registration process, membership fees or deposit, the system leans on its patrons' goodwill.

Aizhi's bookstall operation sees most of its business take place at the Shangai Metro Line 2 terminus, Pudong International Airport - and perhaps unsurprisingly, that's also the location with the highest proportion of unreturned books and magazines.

By contrast, office drop-offs have a higher rate of retention, reported China's Global Times.

It's low-risk for Aizhi, which furnishes the book stalls with stock it wouldn't be able to sell as new anyway, and beneficial for commuters and visitors who don't have to lug sometimes bulky reading material once their journey's done.

In fact, both companies and individuals have donated to Aizhi stock, with travelers receiving a coupon for an online language learning course, added the Global Times in a later report.

London's rail and underground stations saw a similar donation-dependent scheme called Books for London come to fruition in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics. - AFP/Relaxnews, August 19, 2013.

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