Second-hand books find new life online

Updated 2018-04-01 12:41:01 Xinhua

Wang Anna, a 28-year-old working in Beijing, used to pack used books into every nook and cranny of her bedroom because her bookcase was full.

But now she has a way to dispose of her used books. She opened an online bookstall on the second-hand book trading website kongfz.com four years ago, and since then has sold more than 100 books.

"Selling my books to other readers is more environmentally friendly than throwing them away," Wang said. "And the value of the books can be maximized if they are passed on to more readers."

Book recycling has become increasingly popular in China, as websites and mobile apps for trading used books flourish.

However, Wang sometimes finds selling books on kongfz.com to be a lot of work because she needs to input the books' information, wait for buyers to order, and then ship the books.

Yushu, which can be accessed at 22bat.com and the company's official WeChat account, eliminates these troubles.

Staff of Yushu provide on-call and onsite service to collect books free of charge. The collected books are sold at a 62-percent discount online and at brick-and-mortar bookstores, or they may be donated or made into other products.

Yushu's logistics service works with online retail giant JD.com, enabling the book-collecting service to cover 344 cities in China, Yushu founder Shang Xiaohui told Xinhua.

Shang started the book-recycling project as a university student in Shanghai in 2013 and founded Yushu in June 2017. The platform has collected nearly six million books so far.

For Shang, the popularity of Yushu is partly due to increased environmental awareness on the part of donors, and their belief that the books can help people.

A fourth grader at Guangqi primary school in Shanghai mobilized more than 400 pupils to donate 1,230 books, and they are still continuing to donate, Shang said.

"Publishing a 250-page book consumes 7.5 kilograms of water, nearly 1 kilogram of wood and 125 grams of coal," Shang said, adding that many donors believe in protecting natural resources.

The collected books will be disinfected and some will be distributed to more than 80 public libraries in schools, communities and welfare houses established by Yushu.

Yushu staff handle every book carefully because the books may change children's lives, Shang said.

He once learned that Shejie Primary School in poverty-stricken Guizhou Province badly needed books.

A volunteer teacher who had been working at the school for two years told Shang that bookstores in towns were too far, and books were too expensive for the school.

Soon after, Yushu staff donated 300 books to the school, then donated another 600 later.

The students were very happy and wrapped the books in newspaper to avoid scratches.

"Yushu is awesome. It makes my idle books achieve more value," a book donor named Mimi said on Yushu's official WeChat account.

Chinese adults read an average of 7.86 books in 2016, according to an annual survey on reading habits conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication in April 2017.

Shang's vision is for Yushu to help Chinese people read one more book per year and to give children in poor areas more access to good books.

Shang said Yushu plans to set up 1,000 public libraries by the end of this year.

As more book-trading websites and mobile apps emerge, more Chinese are dusting off their used books and letting them begin a new chapter online.

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