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August 21, 2013

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Book service a hit with Metro users

A BOOK borrowing service at some Metro stations has received an enthusiastic response since its launch last week with  people behind the service claiming that the return rate was as high as 70 percent.

Metro riders just have to pay 1 yuan (16 US cents) to borrow and return a book or a magazine from 16 stations on Metro Line 2. The income generated from it will be used to send books to schools for migrant workers’ children, according to Aizhi Bookstore, which has rented out space at major subway stations.

“I have walked passed their store several times but I am using their service for the first time today,” said Lu Yanlan, a 35-year-old salesman, who dropped a 1-yuan coin into a box hanging on the book shelf for an IT magazine at the Jing’an Temple Station yesterday.

Lu works in a company close by. He takes Metro lines 2 and 6 every day. “It’s a good way to kill time on the train. I might not be able to finish the magazine in one night, but I will surely give it back within two or three days time,” he said.

More than 300 passengers borrowed books and magazines from the help-yourself bookshelf at the Jing’an Temple Station on the very first day of its launch on Monday. By yesterday afternoon, 40 books and magazines has been returned.

“Some books cannot be finished in one or two days. Most passengers promised that they would return the books as soon as they finish reading them,” said Zou Shuxian, marketing director of Aizhi Bookstore.

“The current scenario is within our expectation.”

Readers can borrow and return the books or magazines from any of the 60 outlets set up by Aizhi around the city with no deadline for bringing them back. They don’t have to put in any deposits and neither do they have to divulge their identity.

The rate of return was a good 70 percent from the total 60 outlets in the city. In some office buildings alone, the figure was as high as 95 percent.

Sammy works in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in the Pudong New Area. She borrowed a business magazine from the Zhangjiang station on Line 2 two days ago and returned it at their outlet on Nanjing Road W. Station yesterday. “It’s very convenient. If only they had more choices and the latest issues of various magazines,” she said.

According to Aizhi Bookstore, most of their books and magazines are donated or recycled.

But there are not too many choices for foreign readers yet.

“We are encouraging citizens to donate books or magazines to us, including foreign language reading materials,” said Yu Jie, manager of Aizhi Bookstore.

The 1-yuan fee pays for the postage for sending books to schools for migrant workers’ children, both in Shanghai and other cities. Yu said they have provided reading materials for 10 schools in the Pudong New Area, in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, and four other schools in Ya’an City of Sichuan Province, which was hit by earthquake earlier this year.



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