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Subways in China adopt London’s book sharing campaign, but will it work?

November 17, 2016 lawson james 0 Comments

Subways in China adopt London’s book sharing campaign, but will it work?
When Harry Potter actress Emma Watson was seen leaving books in the London Underground as a part of the Books on the Underground initiative, it wasn’t just the title of the book she left — Maya Angelou’s memoir Mom & Me & Mom — that got widespread attention but also Hollie Fraser's campaign that started with a motive to get more people reading in London.

And now that very trend is catching up in the Chinese capital.
On Tuesday, a WeChat public account called The Fair, with 1 million followers, encouraged passengers to leave books on trains so other passengers can read while they commute.
The campaign has been widely shared and over 100 Chinese celebrities have joined in two days. They aim to disseminate 10,000 books in China’s three big cities, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, not only on trains, but also on airplanes and taxis.
People can pick up any book they find in the train – they can either read while commuting or take it home, as long as they return it. The project offers a solution to people who do not have time to read on a daily basis, and could allow people to read more.
The average number of books a Chinese person reads a year is lower compared to Japan and South Korea. While the Japanese read 8 books and South Koreans 11, Chinese only read an average of 4.58 printed books in 2015.
But will the strategy that has gained a lot of attention, and perhaps success, work in overcrowded cities like Shanghai and Beijing where about 9 million people commute everyday?
Chinese netizens weighed in on the topic.
“No one picked up the books in the train,” said a passenger surnamed Zhou, in an interview with the Xinmin.cn, “I only read a few pages. It was too crowded. I couldn’t even hold the book.”
Some netizens also went on to say that the campaign was a way to promote book publishers, celebrities and social charity groups.
“When people post what they found in the subway, those books are bound to become popular in the market. This is literally a marking strategy,” @Heimaliangju commented on Weibo.
“Why don’t you donate these books to schools in rural areas? People who do not read would never read even when they find books on the train,” @underland said.

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