Booked for the vacation

14th September 2007 at 01:00
the start of the new school year has been a cause of relief for bookshops in China.

Parents in Harbin, the capital of north-east China's Heilongjiang province, have started leaving their children in bookshops during the summer holidays.

The shops have air conditioning and contain plenty of books, thus giving pushy parents reassurance that their offspring will spend their summers productively.

One mother said: "We're too busy to care for our son on workdays. The bookstore is a safe place for him to spend time on vacation."

The shop owners have remained calm in the face of this mini-invasion. One told the China Daily: "We welcome the young readers but have to take the consequences of more books possibly being damaged during their reading."

We hope Waterstone's follows suit to take pressure off extended schools.

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