Riders on Shanghai’s Metro Line 2 now have one more item to help make their commute bearable: Certain stations contain customized bookshelves that allow them to select free books to read during their travels. When they are finished, all they have to do is return them to any station’s bookshelf and, if they want, donate ¥1 (about 16 US cents) to charity. Launched last week, the program has been a big hit with commuters, with waiting lines developing in front of the bookshelves during rush hour.
What’s the Big Idea?
The program is a collaboration between the company that runs the Shanghai Metro Line 2, the Aizhi bookstore, and Hujiang.com, an online education provider. They asked people to donate used books for the initiative, and received over 100,000 volumes in response. Now they hope to expand the service to other metro lines in the city, which should help with other efforts designed to increase book-reading. A recent survey of Chinese adults revealed that they read an average of four books in 2012.
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