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Keen readers flock to recording booths in response to hit TV show

(Chinadaily.com.cn)    20:38, March 07, 2017

Keen readers flock to recording booths in response to hit TV show

A reading booth in Shanghai attracts long queues, Mar 6, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

The popular TV program Readers has prompted more people in China to practice reading aloud in booths set up in big cities across the country.

As the latest TV show to rekindle people's love for literature, CCTV program Readersinvites people from all walks of life to read aloud their favorite poems, essays and books, or even personal letters they wrote to their loved ones. Just as the weekly show has been well-received, its reading pavilions, equipped with professional recording devices and cameras, have become instant hits.

Photos circulating online show people of all ages queuing up for hours in downtown Shanghai over the weekend to have a three-minute reading experience. In a small enclosure about the size of a telephone booth, participants can record themselves reading in any language. The program will select the most touching ones to include in the show that airs on Saturday and Sunday on China Central Television.

A throng of more than 200 people were pictured lining up outside the Shanghai Library at 11 am on March 4 – the first day of the pavilion's opening to the public in Shanghai. The cut off time for registrations was brought forward to 2 pm instead of the scheduled 5:30 pm, as the number of waiting readers continued to grow. Some waited more than nine hours for a try-out in the pavilion, according to library management.

"There is an old photo in the late 1970s capturing people lining up outside the Shanghai Library before it opens. If that was a spring of reading in Shanghai, now I think another spring has arrived again," library curator Zhou Deming, told the Shanghai-based The Paper.

The reading booth is the only one of its kind in the economic hub city at the moment, but more are expected to be put into use in the coming months, according to the library's website.

Keen readers flock to recording booths in response to hit TV show

A senior Chinese lady waits in a wheel chair outside the reading pavilion in Shanghai, Mar 6, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

The Readers program has also erected booths in other cities including Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Xi'an to lure more people to read and share their life stories.

With the recent boom of culture-themed TV shows such as Readersand Chinese Poetry Competition, some are optimistic that this will help rejuvenate the country's love for literature and reading in general.

A 2016 nationwide survey said an average Chinese read 7.84 books in 2015, of which 4.58 were paper books. Although the number has slightly increased compared to 2014's 4.56, Chinese people lagged behind their Asian counterparts, as statistics show South Koreans read an average of 9.2 books in 2014 and Japanese people read 18.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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