A popular bookstore in Hefei, eastern China’s Anhui province, has become the world’s first shared bookstore, in a move meant to encourage more reading among Chinese citizens.
The Saoxiaokou Xinhua Bookstore, one of the most renowned Xinhua bookstores of the Anhui Xinhua Distribution Group, first rose to fame in 2014, after it announced it would be open 24/7. Now it is back in the spotlight, as more than 200,000 visitors flooded the store on its first day as a shared bookstore on July 16, a record high since its opening in 2013. Some 4,000 books were brought home on the first day, Thepaper.cn reported.
Customers are allowed to borrow up to two books valued under 150 yuan per visit after registering with an app and paying the 99 yuan deposit fee. All books on sale in the bookstore are available for the service. Returned books that are damaged are sold at a discount. The bookstore also provides a bonus for bookworms. People who finish reading 12 books in three months receive eight percent of their deposit back, and members can receive one yuan for every book read.
“We want to bring down the cost of reading so people read more books,” Xu Xinwei, who helps run the bookstore, told Thepaper.cn.
Some parents buy a lot of books for their children, but they usually end up collecting dust as their children grow up. Similarly, some popular novels for young people also fall out of fashion, according to Xu. “Books are more effectively circulated when they’re shared.”