Borrowing books from street-side libraries for free, listening to excerpts of books on a TV show, reading via social media apps, kindling -- the novelties keep popping up and the vast Chinese readership loves them.
Liu Yaqian, 29, works for a multinational company and describes herself as a "bookworm." She has borrowed around a hundred books from libraries in Beijing since 2011.
In March last year, she found a 24-hour automated library near her office that holds about 400 books. "It's as convenient as an ATM! I no longer have to make the trek to the traditional libraries that are often out of the way," she said. In the past year, Liu has borrowed more than a book per week from the 24-hour book dispenser.
The 24-hour library program is an innovation by the Capital Library of China and district libraries under the guidance of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture. They have been seen on the streets of Beijing since 2010. There are 174 street libraries, each about the size of a street-side food stand dotting both downtown Beijing and its outskirts.