By ZHANG KUN (China Daily) - 26 August, 2013
Passengers will be able to select a book at one station, and return it to any of the other stations with customized bookshelves.
Readers do not have to pay a deposit or any rent for the books and magazines they take. Instead, they are encouraged to donate 1 yuan (16 US cents) to charity at the bookshelf.
"Now you can read a real book, rather than staring at the cellphone through the metro ride," said Zou
Shuxian, a spokeswoman for the Aizhi bookstore, which initiated the project jointly with Hujiang.com and Shanghai Metro Line 2.
"This will encourage more people to read on the Metro and improve the atmosphere of the whole city," said Chen Kuang, a spokesman with Shanghai No 2 Metro Co Ltd.
The Chinese Academy of Press and Publication released a survey recently that said the general public between the ages of 18 to 70 read 4.39 books in 2012, much fewer than in Western countries.
The program announced its official kickoff on Aug 18, after a trial operation over a period of months.
It has been a resounding success with office workers. Waiting lines have developed during rush hour.
"Most people returned the books after reading, and many left a coin for our charity initiative," said a staff member for Aizhi at the Nanjing Road West Station.
"Even if some books are not returned, we believe the overall benefit is worthwhile," another staff member surnamed Li said.