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Unwrapping the Plastic Habit on New Books

Does plastic wrapping on new books prevent damage, or does it just damage the environment?

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Apr.15

In China, it is common that books are wrapped in plastic, as it is believed that customers will damage them, however, environmentalists and some in the publishing world are challenging the practice, reported the Beijing Daily, which gathered different opinions on the issue.  

Shi Luo, chief editor at Xicheng District First Library in Beijing, disagreed with the use of plastic wrapping. The library buys around 4,000 books a month, 95 percent of which are covered in plastic, and it takes a lot of time to unwrap them, which is a waste of time.   

But a shop assistant in a Beijing bookstore argued that without the plastic cover, books are easily damaged by customers, and no one will buy a well-thumbed book. One unnamed reader said the plastic protects books from getting damaged when you carry them around.   

Piao Xuanshu, who works for the South Korea Humanities Publishing Company, said that in South Korea, it is rare to see books covered with plastic because it is bad for the environment and increases the cost of the books. 

Du Shaozhong, president of the Low-carbon Intelligence Research Institute at the Beijing Institute of Technology agreed. Du said that apart from the environmental impact, wrapping books in plastic shows Chinese lack the awareness of the need to conserve resources.